This one garnered a whole lot of interest, both from the twenty guests who got to sample it, and from the Instagram post of it that I put out there, Chili Crab Risotto. (By the way, if you don’t follow me/us on Instagram, why not? dan_casasaltshaker) Everyone loves chili crab, don’t they? Now, traditionally the dish is crab, slow simmered in a rich, tomato and chili sauce (usually without a whole lot of chili – it’s not actually a particularly spicy dish, despite the name). And while I could have gone with a tomato base, I decided not to, though it might be interesting to rework this dish and see how it comes out with at least a bit of tomato in it – maybe even just a tomato concasse tossed in at the end. What I can tell you is, it’s a delicious dish, regardless of faithfulness to the original concept (which actually didn’t occur to me until after tasting it, which is part of why there’s no tomato in it – I was just playing with a spicy crab risotto idea).
Make a simple dashi broth with just bonito flakes and either salt or aji no moto (the much maligned MSG). Start a risotto with toasting carnaroli (or arborio) rice in a little olive oil and grated garlic. Add a good splash of Chinese rice wine and let that absorb, then continue to make the risotto in traditional fashion using the dashi. At the end, stir in a good dollop of Chinese chili-garlic sauce, shredded or chopped crab legs, and, another dollop of mascarpone cheese. Top with sauteed pea sprouts to create a little nest on top, and in the nest, place a sous vide egg (everyone seems to put “63°” egg on their menus, though I find that one cooked at that exact temp is still just a touch too wobbly for my tastes and have settled on 63.4°C (146°F vs. 145°F) as giving the texture I’m looking for. Of course, you could just poach or soft boil an egg too and use that – just easier using the sous vide setup for making a dozen at a time. A sprinkle of smoked paprika and some crystals of sea salt on top.
Wine: Amalaya Rosé de Corte (Malbec & Torrontés) 2012, Cafayate, Salta