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Who doesn’t like lobster (ok, then you’re not invited to dinner, pal!) Lobster isn’t cheap as you might guess, and serving it in a risotto rice dish where its flavors are only partially highlighted means–

Don’t buy expensive lobster–get the cheaper stuff.

For me, that means a visit to the frozen area near the Berkeley Bowl meat department. Fresh lobster is somewhere around $20 for one package, the frozen stuff from somewhere in the Americas I saw priced at around $32 for about a half a pound, but there was Chinese lobster (whatever that might mean or imply) for about half that price. Also, these were smaller lobsters, so perhaps if there is some law in place here in the USA that proscribes catching crustaceans below a certain length, then…well. Maybe the Chinese don’t have such rules.

In any case, leaving geopolitics and sustainability aside, let us proceed in blissful ignorance and simply think–wow, great price! I did my due diligence in looking online to see if there is any problem with lobsters from China and noted nothing, so…let’s enjoy lobster risotto.

It’s an easy dish to make, just involving a certain amount of requisite time spent stirring, because this is an active dish which requires standing in front of the pot, slowly adding warm broth (low sodium chicken broth which has been ‘touched’ by the lobster as it cooked within that selfsame liquid) by half cupfuls to the arborio rice…which slowly absorbs the liquid.

It takes about 20 minutes or more and depending on ‘this or that’ (odd vagaries such as moisture in the air, boredom, cook’s fatigue, and such), you may or may not need to put all the broth into the risotto. Its ready when the rice kernels are still slightly al dente and the texture overall has become creamy and rich.

As the mixture gets closer to readiness, simply add the cooked lobster to the rice and shallot, broth and wine mixture and continually taste the rice to determine whether its ready or not. At that happy moment, kill the heat, add some Parmesan reggiano (or Grana padano) and a bit of lemon zest, test for seasoning (mine barely needed a hint of salt because of the cheese addition) and add some chopped parsley for color, and put out in shallow bowls,

As a pleasant surprise, the wife was equally pleased with the Lima beans in garlic and lobster/chicken broth which attended the risotto as a side dish. I served a bit of leftover cava (it still had a bit of fizz) and some Pinot Grigio as well.

Neither of us generally eat a lot of rice dishes, much as we love the stuff, simply as a means to avoid additional carbohydrates in our diet, but much as we also love bread and chocolate, none of that is verboten in our diets–simply eaten in moderation.

If I had been serving this up for guests, a nice crisp salad, Italian bread, and an accompanying vegetable may have been on the table as well. But since it’s the two of us only, well…I only have my wife to impress.

Meanwhile…

Just before I started I the risotto, I pulled out David Tanis’ fairly recent book One Good Dish and found this recipe for Brown Butter Almond Cakes. I was able to pull out my mini-cakes pan which holds 24 little cake molds so I thought that…since I had all the ingredients, why the hell not?

I’ll be brutally honest–it called for brown butter, which is…simply butter that has been browned in the skillet. I’m not sure how or why brown butter is such a thing, but it does add a nuttiness to the dish, sweet or savory. I’m fairly certain that the dish would have been equally good if it just had simple butter in the dish.

Still–the nutty quality is interesting. Most of these will end up at work with my workmates. These are tasty…and interesting. Not sure what the wife wil think of them.

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