ABALONE AND PERIWINKLE RISOTTO

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Many people don’t know, or believe me, when I say that there is an easier way to make risotto. Easier than the traditional Italian way that is. Gone are the days of standing there for hours, adding liquid, little by little, to the pot when I can already tell you how much liquid you need. I believe that life should be easier, so here you go. This recipe is very special, that special certain day that you manage to get your hands on fresh abalone and periwinkle

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
  • 500 g mixture of abalone and periwinkle, grounded
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (preferably liquid stock)
  • 1 tin coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 1 cup risotto rice
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese or matured white cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • fresh lemon wedges (optional)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Light a big fire with your favourite braai wood.
  2. While you wait for the fire start to prepare your abalone and periwinkle. Steam the periwinkle in a pot in water on the fire for about 30min. They will start to emerge from the shell when ready. Cut away the parts that you don’t eat, ie the tail. Keep the whiter meaty bits.
  3. Remove the abalone from the shells and clean them well. Then cut into smaller pieces.
  4. Place the meat from the abalone and periwinkle through a meat grinder. Take a peeled onion and push it through the grinder at the end to make sure all the last bits of meat went through.
  5. Heat the oil and butter in your potjie by getting some flames under the potjie, then fry the onion for a few minutes. Now add the garlic and fry for about a minute or two.
  6. Next, you add the seafood and fry for a few minutes until soft. 
  7. Season the seafood with salt and pepper
  8. When you feel the moment is right, add the wine and stir so that everything can mix together. Stir until most of the alcohol cooks away. Now add the stock and coconut milk and bring the mixture to the boil.
  9. Add the rice to the potjie, stir, and cover with a lid. Your temperature under the potjie should now be slightly approaching medium heat. You want a gentle simmer.
  10. You should lift the lid regularly and stir the mixture to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. In this case, ‘regularly’ means every 5 minutes. This step of simmering and stirring every 5 minutes is a really great task to delegate to other members of your braai gathering. That guest who asks if they can help? Let them do this. It will take about 30–40 minutes for the rice to be cooked.
  11. The risotto is ready when the rice is thick and creamy and soft. In the highly unlikely event that the risotto goes dry and risks burning before the rice is soft, stir in a bit of water and use that to get yourself to the finish line.
  12. Stir the cheese into the risotto and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary. 
  13. Plate the risotto and top with extra cheese and fresh lemon juice and a glass of white wine
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