Labor Day might be the unofficial end to summer, but isn’t the first week of September a little early to be drinking pumpkin coffee? Last time I checked, it’s supposed to be 90 degrees in New York this weekend. So for now, I’ll be eating tomato salads and drinking watermelon cocktails, but when the temperature finally does start to drop, even slightly, I’ll be making this Lobster & Corn Risotto. A great recipe for the inevitable transition from summer to fall, it calls for summery ingredients- corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes and lobster meat- in a dish that’s warm and comforting on those first nights with a chill in the air.
Risotto has a reputation for being dififcult to make, but once you understand the basic process- cooking the rice slowly by adding hot stock in small amounts- it’s really not hard, and infinitely adaptable to the season or what you happen to have in the fridge. This recipe doesn’t even require stock- by boiling the corn cobs in water, you can make your own quick corn stock in twenty minutes.
Fact: lobster meat is expensive. There’s no way around it. I wanted to know if taking the time to cook them yourself would be a worthwhile way to avoid the steep price of cooked lobster meat. Short answer? Not really. While cooking lobsters isn’t difficult, you need a giant pot and a lobster cracker, and you need to be okay with making a huge mess. All in all, it’s a lot of work for the relatively small amount of meat called for in the recipe. But by all means, give it a try. If nothing else, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for lobster rolls, and the all the equipment you need to make them.
(photos by Simon Bordwin)
Lobster & Corn Risotto
- 3 large ears corn on the cob
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts (1 leek)
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half through the stem
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¾ pound cooked lobster meat
- Remove the husks and silk from the corn and cut off the kernels as close to the cob as possible. You should have about 2 cups of kernels. Set the kernels aside. Break the cobs in half and place in a medium saucepan with 10 cups of water. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. (The stock should remain at a low boil so it reduces slightly.)
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a medium pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for one more minute. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has evaporated. When the stock has been cooking for fifteen minutes, remove the corn cobs and discard, keeping the stock at a simmer as you cook the risotto.
- Add the stock to the pot with the leeks and rice, one ladleful at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take about 25 minutes.
- When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add the tomatoes, corn, salt and pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
- When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest, tarragon, Parmesan and lobster meat, reserving a few pieces of lobster meat for serving. Serve immediately, with the reserved lobster pieces on top of each serving.