Fish and Shellfish | Rice and Grains

Lobster Risotto with Black Rice

After researching a French recipe from the 1830’s Elizabeth David, concluded,
“That anisette is, improbably but inconvertibly, quite magical in fish dishes and sauces.” More so that it makes the “best sauce for lobster ever invented.” We are taking her cue for this elegant, rich, and inexplicably delicious seafood risotto to welcome the New Year.

Poach the lobster yourself. If you cannot bring yourself to the task, purchase it pre-cooked from your fishmonger or grocer. If that is your chosen course of action, make sure the tail is tightly curled beneath the body.


  • 4 + 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups black rice
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine or vermouth
  • 4 -6 cups lobster/ fish/ vegetable stock or water, simmering
  • Meat from 1 1 ½ – 2 ½ lb lobster
  • 1 oz anisette or pastis (Pernod or Ricard etc.)
  • ¼ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon or chervil, chopped
  • To Poach Lobster
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery sliced
  • 1 small onion cut in ½
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 1 ½ – 2 ½ lb lobster


Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4

Make the risotto

  • Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the shallot. Sauté until soft but not browned.
  • Add the rice to the pan. Stir until the grains are coated. Let the rice toast in the butter for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is evaporated/incorporated into the rice. Add a ladle full of the stock, stirring until it is absorbed. Repeat until most of the stock is incorporated. The rice should have a creamy softness to the exterior while still retaining a bite inside.
  • When the rice is just about finished, Melt the additional 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet or sauté pan just big enough to hold the lobster meat. When the foam subsides, add the lobster meat, the liqueur, and a dash of tamari. Raise the heat and let it bubble up. Remove from the heat.
  • Plate the risotto. Arrange or scatter the lobster on top, depending on how formal you want the evening to be. Garnish with the tarragon.

Poach the Lobster

  • Put the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns in a deep pot. Pour in the water. Set the lobster in the pot. Cover it and bring it to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn of the heat and let the pot sit for 5- 10 minutes. Remove the lobster. Extract the meat. Wipe the body cavity clean with paper towels. Add the cleaned shells and legs back to the pot. Bring it to a low simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Return to a simmer.
  • To Extract the Meat from a Lobster
  • Detach the claws. Set them bottom side up and whack them with a mallet or use a nutcracker. Extract the claw meat in one piece.
  • With your hands detach the body from the tail. Do this over stock pot. Use a kitchen shears to cut through the underside of the tail. Extract the tail meat. Remove the intestinal vein. Cut the meat half lengthwise or cut it into medallions. Pick the meat from body. Discard the spongy gills. Keep the red coral, if any.
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