Crab Risotto with Poached Egg

I love to cook risotto and am always looking for new flavors to incorporate. My friend’s suggestion of crab seemed like the beginnings of a perfect meal. Frequently, when one adds fish to risotto the cheese is omitted or severely cut back.  In this recipe I leave the cheese in all of its gooey goodness and add a poached egg for extra texture and moisture. Additionally the use of bright, summery basil and lemon added depth of flavor to the dish.

To my delight it turned out quite wonderfully. I think in the future I would add a side of braised radicchio, but when I reached that stage with this dish I had run out of steam and simply wanted to eat dinner.

Crab Risotto with Poached Egg (serves 6)

1/2 head celery, finely chopped
3 medium shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
16oz arborio rice
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 quart fish stock
5 tbsp butter
8 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup julienned basil
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice
8oz crab meat, at room temperature
salt and pepper to taste
6 eggs

In a stock pot heat the fish stock on low.

In a separate pan heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Sweat the celery, shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes, adding a pinch of salt for taste. Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the rice and continuously stir. You do not want your rice to brown at all. After about 4 minutes the rice will begin to look translucent. Add the vermouth and continue to stir. Allow the alcohol to evaporate and the liquid to absorb. Turn the heat down and begin to slowly add your warm stock. Add a ladle at a time, allowing the rice to cook slowly and absorb all of the stock. The entire process should take 15-20 minutes. Add the crab meat and allow to warm to a few minutes. Check your seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. When the crab is warm remove the risotto from the heat and add butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil and Parmesan cheese.

In the mean time poach your eggs. If you have someone in the kitchen to help you, have them do this step while you finish the risotto so that everything can be served hot. If not, work as quickly as possible once the risotto is taken off the stove.

To save yourself time and frustration cheat and buy an egg poacher, we use Calphalon’s. Here though, is a quick primer in egg poaching for those who insist on doing it the old fashioned way (good for you!).

Heat a pot with a few inches of water in it, adding a splash of vinegar or lemon juice (the acid will help the egg tighten when added to the water). You do NOT want your water to boil or simmer, but to reach as high of a heat as possible before this stage.  Your pot will have tiny bubbles collecting on the bottom, let’s call this the “fish eye” stage. Break your egg in a small dish such as a ramekin and give the water a stir. Carefully and gently place the egg in the poaching water. If this means that you submerge your entire ramekin, then do it. Allow egg to cook, carefully submerging it fully if it does not do so itself, and scraping the bottom of the pan is it sticks. In 3 minutes you should have a perfectly poached egg.

Remove the egg from the water, dry quickly on a paper towel and place on top of a few spoonfulls of risotto.

Garnish with basil.