This simple yet evocative dish benefits from the juxtaposition of several exquisite ingredients: The creaminess of the risotto is a suitable backdrop to the tenderness of the lobster. And of course, how could we resist using truffles?!
2 pounds cooked lobster meat, shelled (be sure to leave the claw meat intact)
½ ounce black truffle (or truffle oil, for drizzling)
For the asparagus risotto:
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups seafood stock or fish fumet, plus 2 cups for warming the lobster
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Blanch the asparagus:
Fill a medium saucepot with about 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile prepare an ice bath by filling a metal bowl with ice and cold water. Place a steamer basket in the bottom of the pot. Cut the asparagus on the bias into 1-inch lengths. Be sure to cut the tips a little bit longer so they are showcased. Steam the asparagus pieces for a few minutes, until crisp tender, then remove and immediately plunge into the ice bath to stop the cooking and brighten the color.
Prepare the risotto:
Place the seafood stock or fish fumet in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and keep hot. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add the oil and butter until the butter melts. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until the garlic becomes aromatic. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent. Add the rice. Cook for about 2 minutes to coat the rice, stirring constantly. Add the white wine and stir until the wine has nearly evaporated. Add hot stock, a little at a time, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from sticking, until the liquid has completely evaporated. Repeat, adding ½ cup of the remaining stock at a time. Stir each time until the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is creamy and tender. It should be slightly al dente. Stir in the asparagus, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.
[Chef’s Note: Contrary to what you may think, risotto technique is not daunting, nor is it necessary to stir constantly. It is important to keep the rice moving in the pan so it doesn’t stick, but primarily to agitate the rice and help it to absorb more and more of the cooking liquid. Once the rice has absorbed enough liquid to cook it al dente, it will release some of this liquid, producing the desired creaminess. Cream is never added to risotto.]
Prepare the lobster:
Reserve 2 cups of the seafood stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Place the lobster meat in the stock for only 2-3 minutes to warm it.
Use wide shallow serving bowls which have been warmed in the oven prior to service. Place a generous serving of the asparagus risotto in the center of each bowl. Remove the lobster meat from the stock with a slotted spoon and place around the risotto. Be sure to keep the claws intact and feature them prominently on the serving plate. Shave the truffles over each plate. If you don’t have fresh truffle, lightly drizzle some truffle oil over the lobster, and serve immediately.
Recipe and photo by Mark Tafoya