I have tried for a long time to like shellfish. Every once in a blue moon, I will take a notion for prawn cocktail. I will gather together the ingredients, whip up and generously slather the prawns with big dollops of Marie Rose sauce, tuck in and immediately recoil when I bite into the prawns. I immediately wonder why I bother when each time I make this dish, the same thing happens. I think it’s the creamy tang of the Marie Rose sauce and the sweetness and crunch of a little Gem lettuce. I should experiment with prawn replacements.
Crab, on the other hand, is a different matter. I rarely buy it and when I do, I always wonder why I don’t buy it more often. This is the recipe I use most regularly. It is an adaptation of a Jamie Oliver basic risotto recipe that I have been using for years. I made it for Christmas Eve. It was the perfect bowl of creamy comfort food with a taste of the sea, washed down with a large glass of Soave to begin a Covid Christmas.
1L chicken, fish or vegetable stock
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
200g risotto rice
2 tbsp olive oil
A knob of butter
100g good crab meat
A handful of frozen peas
A couple of tablespoons of chopped mint
Keep the stock on a low heat in a small pan.
In a larger pan, add the oil and onion and cook on a medium low heat for at least six minutes until the onions have softened.
Add the garlic and rice and cook for a further two minutes making sure the onion and garlic doesn’t colour.
Add the first ladleful of stock, stirring continuously until the stock has been absorbed. Continue, ladle by ladle, until the rice has softened, making sure to stir continuously.
Just before the rice has cooked, add the crab meat, peas and a squeeze of lemon juice (adjust to your taste). Cook for a further three minutes.
Add the knob of butter, stir through and leave to sit for two minutes. Serve in two bowls and sprinkle with chopped mint and a lemon wedge on the side.