What could be more romantic?
BY TOM YATES
Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. It is a special day, yes. As Pollyanna as it may sound, Valentine’s Day should be every day, like Mother’s Day. Why wait for the one dedicated day set aside to show love, appreciation, honor, and respect? Especially if you’ve been in a relationship for a long time….say 35 years.
Valentine’s Day can be a lot of work. Buying stuff, making reservations in a timely manner,and trying to make the day special. Guess what? Relationships are a lot of work. Daily work. They don’t just happen willy-nilly. There are good times and bad times. We should celebrate all of the times that make up relationships; the good, the bad, the ugly, and the divine.
To bump up the Valentine’s Day factor, I like to serve lobster risotto. Sexy. Luxurious. Indulgent. The prep was fairly simple. After dicing a roma tomato and small shallot, I split a large lobster tail, brushed the flesh with olive oil, and par-cooked it on a very hot grill pan until just underdone. After pulling it from the pan, I removed the tail meat, diced it into bite sized pieces, and set it aside.
Risotto waits for no one. When it’s finished and hot, you eat it. Period. I usually don’t fall prey to dishes with requirements, but risotto is a different beast. While the short ribs bubbled away, we enjoyed several glasses of wine while exchanging Valentine’s chocolates, cards, and gifts. Thirty minutes before we decided to dine, I started the risotto.
While 2 cups of chicken stock simmered with a pinch of saffron in a stock pot on a back burner of the stove, I pulled a stool to edge of the stove, poured myself a glass of wine, and made the risotto. Calming. I sautéed 1 cup of arborio rice in olive oil with minced shallots until well coated before deglazing with white wine. When the wine reduced by half, I added chicken stock one half cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the stock between additions. The slow absorption of the stock slowly releases the starches in the rice, insuring creamy risotto. Midway through, I tossed the diced tomatoes into the mix to soften, breakdown, permeate the rice. When the risotto was creamy with a hint of a bite, I added the sliced lobster meat to cook through, adding further flavor to the dish.
Before plating, I swirled 4 ounces of Crottin Montchevre goat cheese into the risotto, letting it melt into the creamy rice. The soft melted creamy rice was punctuated with briny sweet al dente lobster bites, undertones of sweet tomato, savory saffron, and tangy piquant fresh chevre. Perfect in every possible way.
This article also appears on page 25 of the Winter 2020 print edition of Hamburg Journal.
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