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Luscious Lobster and Saffron Risotto

Mood: Luscious

Cost: Just got a Raise

Difficulty: Iron Chef

Rating: XXXX
The Tease
This was the second course of a very romantic evening I planned. The delicate balance of lobster and saffron was truly incredible, making this divine dish one of the best risottos I have ever made. Serve it up with Champagne and you will be sure to get some sort of lovin in return.

Time To Cook:
• Novice Cook 1 Hour and 20 Minutes
• Experienced Cook 50 Minutes
Did you know that before the 20th century, eating lobster was a mark of poverty? Lobster meat is low in fat and calories, high in protein and contains omega-3 fatty acids, known to reduce hardening of the arteries and decrease the risk of heart disease. Lobster is also high in:

• Amino acids

• Potassium and magnesium

• Vitamin B12, B6, B3 (niacin) and B2 (riboflavin)

• Calcium and phosphorous

• Iron, zinc and vitamin A

• 16-20 ounces cooked lobster tail meat

• 1 cup Aborio rice

• 4-5 finely chopped shallots

• 1 bottle of clam juice

• 32 oz of chicken stock or broth

• 1 cup white wine

• 1 cup dry vermouth

• 2 cups of FRESH grated Parmesan cheese

• 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream

• Several strands of saffron

• Juice of 1/2 a lemon

• Zest of 1 lemon

• 4 small Roma tomatoes - seeded, diced

• 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

• 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

• Salt and pepper

• Two sauce pans

• Large stock pot

• Medium stock pot

• Large mixing bowl filled with ice water

• Cheese grater

Don't forget your measuring cups, spoons and cutting board!

Preparation (Do it!)
1) In a large stock pot, bring 1 cup of boiling water and the lemon juice to a boil. Add the lobster tail, which will steam in the mixture. (If you're using a frozen lobster tail make sure it's properly thawed in advance). Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes. You will notice that the tail will curl up.

2) After the tail is cooked, immediately put the tail in a bowl of ice cold water. We call this "shocking." It aids in stopping the cooking process. Reserve (keep) the water from the lobster left in the stock pot. After the tail has cooled, cut the tail in half and remove the meat. Reserve the shells and put them in the water that was left in the stock pot.

3) The liquid to make the risotto:
Add the clam juice, chicken stock, wine, and a pinch of saffron threads to the remaining water and shells in the stock pot. Heat liquid until it simmers slightly.

4) Risotto is not hard to make. You just have to pay attention to it. The trick to making great risotto is to ladle in the stock little by little. (And having the best ingredients helps, of course.)

5) Over medium heat, combine olive oil and two tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan or frying pan. After the butter has melted, take most of the shallots (reserve about two tablespoons) and sauté until lucid.

6) Add the rice to the pan mix and let rice roast for a few minutes.

7) Add 1/2 cup of vermouth and let it absorb into the rice.

8) Ladle the simmering broth into the risotto a few ladles at a time. (Make sure not to spoon up any shells from the lobster tails.) Stir mixture constantly. Continue to slowly add broth, a few ladles at a time, until rice is cooked - about 20-30 minutes. While you are doing this you should be preparing your cream sauce.

9) In a second saucepan, heat remaining butter. Add remaining shallots and seeded tomatoes (to seed a tomato cut it in half, scoop out the insides and throw the insides away) and cook until shallots are translucent. Add remaining vermouth and simmer until it's reduced by half. Add the cream and reduce by half again. Add 6 strands of saffron (or to taste) and season with salt and pepper.

10) When the risotto is done, combine it with the cream sauce, cheese and lemon zest.

Serve it up with yet another glass of champagne.


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