Native British Lobsters are caught off the coast between June & September, they are blue when live, and go bright red when you cook them. Billingsgate Fish Market in east London stocks some of the best lobster in the UK. You can pick up consistently fresh produce thanks to the daily catches from British coastal areas as there are 40-plus merchants at the market the competition is keen which helps to keep prices low. The rule of thumb with lobsters is always to use top-quality produce, then keep your preparation as simple as possible – this will let the natural flavours come through and show your guests you really know your stuff.
Lobster Risotto (serves 8-10 as a small course)
- 5 live 1-pound lobsters (can be pre-cooked)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large onions, finely diced
- sea salt & fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 8 cups lobster broth
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
- 2 tablespoons freshly cut chives
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- aioli or mayonnaise for garnish
In a large stock pot bring 2 gallons of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Add the lobsters and boil for 10 minutes or until they turn bright red. Remove the lobsters and when cool enough to handle, remove the meat and coarsely chop. Reserve 8 cups of the boiling liquid and discard the rest. Add the lobster shells to the reserved water and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain the broth and then return to the pot over medium-low heat to be used in the risotto. You may have some broth left over which you can boil down into a lobster reduction and freeze for another use.
Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of sea salt and sauté until translucent (about 6 minutes). Add the olive oil, rice, garlic, and a bit more salt. Stir the rice until it is sizzling and well-coated with the oil. Add the wine and keep stirring until it is reduced. Bear in mind that from this point it will take 20-30 minutes, or a bit longer if your rice is older). For a dinner party allow 40 minutes and the risotto can sit for 5-10 minutes if necessary.
Adjust the heat to keep the broth at a brisk simmer; you should see little bubbles but nothing near a boil. Add 1 cup of the lobster broth (just enough to barely cover the rice) and stir frequently until the broth has almost been completely absorbed. Repeat the process of adding broth, stirring, and allowing the rice to absorb the liquid until the rice becomes a bit soupy and is a little al dente.
Before serving, stir in the chopped lobster meat (reserve a little for garnish) and season the risotto with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Garnish with the reserved lobster meat, herbs, lemon zest, and a dab of aioli or mayonnaise. Serve as soon as you can.
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