Bill Kerr’s Crab and Parmesan Risotto with Seared Scallop


While I had the undivided attention of Bill Kerr, subject of this week's Chef Watch, I thought it would be criminal to let him away without extracting a recipe or two from him. He gave me a winter warmer of slow cooked beef shin with horseradish mash. I was reassured to see it was similar to the one I gave you in March. I know we've done risotto before but not, I think, a crab one. The most mundane of Bill's seafood dishes was divine. In short, while I may have made something similar, it won't have been as good as his.

With this amount of butter it will be gloriously rich. I also note that Bill uses fish or crab stock, where many might use chicken. I guess the butter and Parmesan will off set the fishiness.

Ingredients (serves 4)

225 g Arborio rice; 1.2 litres fish or crab stock; 225g white crab meat,shredded; 100 - 150g unsalted butter; 2 small onions, very finely chopped; 1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra to sear the scallops): 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan; small quantity crab bisque (optional); 4 large hand dived fresh scallops; salt & pepper.


Bring the  stock to a simmer. Melt the butter with the olive oil, add the onions and sweat for 3 to 4 minutes, without colouring. As the onions begin to soften, add the rice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it turns translucent. Keeping the rice over a medium heat, add 2 ladles of hot stock. This will create a steam and immediately begin to evaporate. Because you only add a ladle at a time, the rice will absorb the stock without becoming totally swamped. Stir regularly.

The slow adding and the stirring is the process that helps cream the risotto. Continue to add the stock a little at a time until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. This will take about 20 minutes. The finished texture of the rice should have the slightest bite. Add the crab meat and the remaining butter and season with salt and white pepper. Then add a little Parmesan to lift the taste. The risotto should be neither dry nor soupy.

The consistency should be rich and creamy. If using, add a few spoonfuls of crab bisque to the finished risotto to improve the flavour and consistency even more.

When the risotto is nearly ready, sear the scallops. Season on both sides with a little s & p. Heat a knob of butter and some olive oil in a frying pan until it sizzles. Pop in the scallops. The cooking time will depend on the size of your scallops, but you want a nice caramelisation. Then turn and cook on the other side. Do not over cook.

Plate a mound of risotto in centre of a bowl ,top with a scallop, then drizzle a little crab bisque around the outside, You could also garnish with Parmesan flakes and/or a trickle of olive oil.

This recipe can also be used for lobster, prawn or shrimp risotto.

Mussels also make a good risotto, Cook them first in fish stock, then use the remaining liquor for the risotto. But one word of caution: don’t add the cooked mussels to the rice until the end otherwise they will be overcooked and tough.

Note that the food photographs are stock images, not actual photos of Bill's food.




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