Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Spring Comfort Food - Shrimp Risotto with Bacon Gremolata
Comfort food is generally associated with winter weather.
But what comforts you when a spring day turns wet, gray and cold?
Light yet satisfying, this dish is best made in the spring when asparagus is at its peak. Spring peas work just as well.
Shrimp Risotto with Bacon Gremolata: serves 4
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined - set aside. Reserve shells
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 shallot, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
1 bay leaf
small bunch (a couple of sprigs) fresh parsley
Place the shrimp shells, water, broth, shallot, peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley in a large stock pot. Bring to a small boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the stock through a sieve and discard vegetables and shells.
Place stock in a large heavy saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup shallots, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup steamed, diced asparagus spears
nutmeg - a few good grinds
salt to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
Break bacon into small pieces, toss with the parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Set Aside
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add shallots and saute over medium heat until transparent, about 2 minutes. Add rice and continue to saute another 2 minutes. Rice will turn from white to almost opaque. Add wine and cook until almost all the liquid is evaporated. Add shrimp stock by 1/2 cup full, cooking after each addition until almost all the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. This should take about 20-25 minutes.
Stir in shrimp and asparagus and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm. Stir in a few good grinds of fresh nutmeg. Take off heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the Parmesan cheese.
Spoon into shallow bowls and top with the bacon gremolata.
Eat with a smile. The spring rains are watering your summer vegetables.
A Cook's Notes: What the heck is gremolata? Gremolata (or gremolada) is a chopped herb condiment typically made of garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. It is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian Osso Buco. Although it is a common accompaniment to veal, the citrus element in gremolata makes it an appropriate addition to seafood dishes.