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Celebrate summer with sweet corn, lobster

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — This summer has been a worry for sweet corn lovers.

Prices are up, supplies are down, and it’s possible that corn won’t last as long as the summer does.

But sweet corn is in season now, and it can be found at many grocery stores and farmers markets. Don’t wait. This is the year to get corn while the getting is good.

Corn is versatile and while the classic boiled corn cob, dressed with butter and salt and pepper, can never be beaten for its simplicity, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy fresh sweet corn.

When it comes to seafood, perhaps one of the most tried and true combinations comes from the marriage of corn and lobster. Both flavors speak of summer, a popular time for lobster bakes with corn.

And while sweet corn prices may be higher, lobster prices are more reasonable this summer.

In her new book, “Lobster!” ($14.95, hardcover, Storey Publishing) author Brooke Dojny (“The New England Clam Shack Cookbook,” “Dishing Up Maine”) offers several ways to enjoy sweet corn, including lobster and corn risotto with roasted tomatoes, which makes for a great summer supper.

The sweetness of the corn really comes out in this recipe, even though it calls for only two ears. The cup and a half of chopped lobster needed is roughly the equivalent of two lobster tails.

When we tested it, we skipped the roasted tomatoes in favor of chopped fresh tomatoes that paired exceptionally well with the fresh basil garnish. However, the roasted tomatoes make for a nice touch if time permits and you don’t mind lighting the oven in August.

LOBSTER AND CORN RISOTTO WITH
ROASTED TOMATOES

Serves 4

For the roasted tomatoes:

12 plum tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the risotto:

3 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup Arborio rice

1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn)

1 cup white wine

4 cups seafood broth or clam juice (see note)

1½ cups roughly chopped cooked lobster meat (see note)

1/3 cup torn fresh basil, plus more for garnish

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Core the tomatoes, cut them into quarters and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring once or twice, until the tomatoes soften, give up their juice and begin to caramelize, about 1½ hours. Scrape into a container and refrigerate. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Return to room temperature before using.)

To make the risotto, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring until the grains are coated with butter and slightly translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the corn and wine, bring to a boil and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the broth in a saucepan. Pour about one-third of the hot liquid over the rice and cook over medium heat, at a barely bubbling simmer, stirring almost constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Repeat with another third of the broth and cook for 5 minutes. Repeat with the last third of the broth, cooking until rice is almost tender.

Add the lobster, torn basil, and Parmesan, and cook, stirring until the rice is tender but still slightly firm to the bite, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Scatter the roasted tomatoes over the top of the risotto.

Serve directly from the pot, garnished with basil.

COOK’S NOTE: Seafood broth or stock can often be found in supermarkets near the chicken and beef broth. Bottled clam juice is shelved with the canned seafood. If the clam juice is salty, dilute with water.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We could not find seafood broth or stock at a traditional grocery store, so we substituted 1 cup of bottled clam juice and 3 cups of low-salt chicken broth, with excellent results.

For 1½ cups of chopped lobster, cook one 1½-pound hard-shell lobster or two lobster tails and remove the meat, or buy picked-out meat. Boil lobster or tails about 15 minutes.

— Adapted from “Lobster!” by Brooke Dojny

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