Crayfish with smoked tomato risotto

Looking for a recipe to rise to your special occasion? This flavoursome risotto by chef George Jardine promises layers of smokiness and fragrant crayfish that will impress any guest.

Serves: 4


1 kg vine-ripened tomato
4 crayfish
1 carrot
1 head celery
1 bunch leeks
5 g tomato paste
1 bulb garlic
250 g arborio rice
1 lemon
1 bulb garlic
6 finely chopped shallots
250 g butter
25 g basil
100 g parmesan


To make the smoked tomato
Blanch and peel the tomatoes, cut into quarters and dry off any excess moisture. Keep the peeling and trimmings for the stock. Dry the tomato gently in a warm oven until slightly dehydrated. Smoke the tomatoes in a smoker but do not discolour the tomato as you want the flavour to be intense but not overpower the risotto.

To make the crayfish
Boil the crayfish for 4 minutes, then refresh in ice water. Separate the legs, tails and body. Use the meat inside the legs for the risotto base, the tails roasted and the bodies for the stock and garnish. For the stock, roast the shells in a pot with 50 g butter. Add the chopped carrot, celery, leek, tomato paste and 2 cloves of garlic and cover with water. Simmer for 1 hour, then strain. Clean the tails and refrigerate until needed. Pick all the meat from the legs and chop up.

To make the risotto
Add olive oil to a heavy-based pot and sweat off the shallots. Keep stirring as you do not want any colour. Once translucent, add the chopped crayfish legs and the rice and cook for 4 minutes, stirring. Gradually add the crayfish stock, stirring occasionally. The rice should absorb the stock. Add the smoked tomato to taste and the remainder of the stock. The rice should be cooked after 10–12 minutes. Test a kernel to see if it is cooked – you might prefer your rice to be slightly al dente.

Once the rice is cooked, slowly incorporate the remainder of the butter, the basil and finally the parmesan. Leave to rest for 2–3 minutes. The risotto should be creamy and rich. If it is too dry, add a little stock or water to achieve the desired consistency.

Roast the crayfish tails in foaming butter with salt and pepper until golden.

Recipe reproduced with kind permission from Jardine: Cooking with an accent by George Jardine.

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