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Saffron risotto with seafood

I have a thrifty streak that afflicts me in the strangest way. It doesn’t drive me to hunt down bargains, compare prices or choose the cheapest option, but after I’ve handed over my money,  I like to maximize my bang for buck.

My thrift drives to me to meticulously repackage green groceries into breathable plastic bags, transfer open packages of non perishables into airtight containers and to store meat and fish trimmings in the freezer.

A recent bowl of luscious risotto with seafood was based on 4 small frozen packages of trimmings, one of the belly end trimmings of several salmon fillets, one of calamari wings, another of white fish trimmings and a bag of prawn heads and shells. I bought a small amount of scallops and some extra prawns to add variety.

Don’t ever discard prawn heads and shells, they are bursting with flavour. Homemade seafood stock imbues risotto with the most wonderful taste of the sea, it’s quick to make and costs nothing.

We celebrated the coming of spring with a luxury low cost dinner.

seafood stock
Shells and head of 500g fresh green prawns
Fish scraps, skin, heads, skeletons
Olive oil
Parsley stems
Spring onion greens
1 stick celery
1 small carrot
Cold water to cover

Rinse the prawn head and shells.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan.
When the oil is shimmering, add the prawn shells and fish scraps and fry until very well coloured. Add the water, vegetables and herbs.
Bring the pot to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Seafood stock freezes well.

making the risotto
750mls of hot seafood stock
Good pinch of saffron stamens
40g butter
1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil
1 1/2 cups canaroli rice
100mls dry white wine
2 small tomatoes finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup snipped chives
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g fresh green shelled prawns, digestive tracts removed
100g scallops with roe, digestive tracts removed
100g white fish trimmings, no skin
100g salmon trimmings, no skin
100g calamari wings, double peeled

Soak the saffron stamens for 10 minutes in 2 tablespoons of hot stock.
Heat the butter and and garlic oil then add the rice to the pan. Cook the rice until light golden.
Add the wine to the rice then stir continuously until it is absorbed.
Begin adding the hot stock one ladle full at a time. Stir the rice frequently and add more stock as it is needed.
While the rice is cooking, warm 1/2 cup of stock in a saute pan and poach the seafood until just cooked, 3- 4 minutes. Set aside.
When the rice has been cooking for 15 minutes, stir in the tomato and saffron.
Cook for a further 3-4 minutes adding a little extra stock as necessary.
Taste a rice grain for doneness. It should be firm but not chalky and the mixture should be loose, but not soupy. Continue cooking until you are happy with the consistency
Stir in the seafood, lemon juice and chopped herbs.
Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Serves 4


About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

19 comments on “Saffron risotto with seafood

  1. Pingback: Winter Zucchini and Calamari Mescolanza | ALMOST ITALIAN

  2. darwinontherocks
    September 14, 2014

    I must try this ! Thanks for sharing.


  3. Sally
    September 13, 2014

    I love your thrift – especially when it looks as delicious as this.


  4. chef mimi
    September 12, 2014

    It’s just so smart not to waste anything! A beautiful risotto!


  5. StefanGourmet
    September 12, 2014

    Great risotto, Sandra, and you are so right about seafood stock. If you were to add some mussels or clams, their juices would add even more flavor.


  6. dishnthekitchen
    September 12, 2014

    It takes talent to make dinner a dinner like that out of all those bits n bobs. Well Done!


    • ladyredspecs
      September 12, 2014

      Thanks Bernice, I always feel a tiny bit smug when I produce a luxury dish from my little freezer bundles

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Fig & Quince
    September 11, 2014

    I have recently discovered the thrills of thriftiness and unless it’s taken to extremes, I think it is a fabulous life skill. I enjoyed finding out how this luxury dish was made in a neat thrifty way and I particularly enjoy the juxtaposition of the luxurious saffron with it. Very cool!


    • ladyredspecs
      September 12, 2014

      I hear you Azita, definitely a fine line between thrift and meaness. Seafood and saffron are fantastic together


  8. Shelley @Travel-Stained
    September 11, 2014

    Ohhh this look so amazing! And now I know exactly what to do with all my leftover shrimp head!! 😀


  9. cheergerm
    September 11, 2014

    Your cooking background shows with that ‘scraps and remnants’ thriftiness. A fantastic use of odds and ends, looks delicious. Love saffron.


    • ladyredspecs
      September 11, 2014

      My kids laugh at me, meticulously trimming meat and seafood and then popping all the bits and bobs in the freezer for “ron”. But I have the last laugh!


  10. Francesca
    September 11, 2014

    Just perfect. Great idea to save scraps in the freezer for this. Can you send some to Wilpena Pound please.


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This entry was posted on September 11, 2014 by in FODMAP diet, Food, Gluten Free, Light Savoury Dishes, Main Meals, Rice dishes, Seafood Dishes and tagged , , .
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