Wish Upon A Dish: Grilled Shrimp & Monkfish Boullabaisse Over Risotto Milanese

June 25, 2013

Grilled Shrimp & Monkfish Boullabaisse Over Risotto Milanese

Yes, I know. This dish is both French and Italian. They have been known to play well together.
I haven't had risotto in over a year and I was in the mood.

The French would just dip bread into the sauce that was spread with a spicy, garlicky rouille.
I started this dish a few days before with a bowl of steamed mussels, so in actuality this is a three-for, a recipe for a broth to steam the mussels in, a recipe for a Bouillabaisse sauce and a recipe for Risotto Milanese.

Since I knew where I was going at the onset, I created the steaming broth using ingredients traditionally one would use to make a stock to cook the fish heads and bones in, at the start of a Bouillabaisse. Since I did not have heads and bones, I added clam juice and a jarred seafood base. The mussels added their salty brine and the chorizo added the savory. It turned out to be an excellent substitution and better than I planned.

By the way, the mussels were phenomenal, if I say so myself, with not one uneaten (if you do have uneaten mussels, just puree them and add to the broth).
While you can make this dish without the addition of the mussels, you could add clams to the Bouillabaisse.

Once you strain the mussel broth, it can sit in the fridge for up to three days, so plan accordingly.
You do not want salmon, mackerel or any oil-based fish for your final dish, so pick firm fleshed white fish. I choose monkfish and shrimp but cod, scallops or a mixture of any one will do well.
If you have never eaten monkfish, some say it's a poor man's lobster. It does have the same structure, but do not be grossed by the appearance, try it and you will love it.
I was grilling my fish first so I left the cod in the freezer but if you can get halibut (which grills well), by all means, use it.

If you want a dish to impress, this is it.
Truly one of the best seafood dishes I have ever made and something you would most definitely find on a restaurant menu.

Steamed Mussels
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

* 1 bottle clam broth
* 1/2 cup white wine
* Pinch of saffron
* 1/2 medium onion, chopped
* 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
* 8 whole peppercorns
* 1/4 tsp celery seed
* 1/4 tsp fennel seed
* 1/2 chorizo link, cut into 1/2" pieces
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 4 sprigs thyme
* 1 small carrot, grated
* 2 bay leaves
* 2 pounds mussels, washed and scrubbed, beards removed

1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Saute the garlic, onion, carrot and chorizo until soft and the chorizo in browned. Add the white wine.
2. In a small bowl of hot water, soak the saffron for at least 10 minutes.
3. Add the white wine, and stir. Add the bay leaves, the clam juice, saffron, peppercorns, celery and fennel seeds and thyme. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add the mussels, cover and steam for 10 minutes or until they are all opened. Discard any that do not.
5. When done, strain the steaming broth into a container and store in the fridge.

Bouillabaisse Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 cups

* 1 sweet onion, julienned
* 1 (14oz) can stewed tomatoes
* Zest and juice of one small orange
* 2 tablespoons Pernod or anise liquor
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic
* 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
* Pinch of saffron
* Mussel broth
* Salt & pepper

* Grilled seafood (monkfish, shrimp, scallops, calamari)

1. Place all ingredients (up to seafood) in a large stock pot and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve.
2. Ladle sauce over grilled seafood and serve with risotto.

Risotto Milanese
Adapted from foodnetwork.com
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
* Kosher salt
* 2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
* 2 large pinches saffron
* 3 to 4 cups chicken stock, kept HOT
* 1 1/2 to 2 cups dry white wine
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 cup frozen peas (optional)

1. Coat a large saucepan generously with olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and sweat them until translucent, about 5 minutes. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, letting the rice slightly stick to the bottom of the pan and scraping it off. It should also sound crackly.
2. Add the saffron to the hot chicken stock; the stock should turn bright yellow.
3. Add the wine to the pan until it covers the surface of the rice. Season with salt and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring continuously until the wine has absorbed into the rice. Add the saffron chicken stock to the pan until it covers the rice. Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring continuously until the stock has absorbed into the rice.
4. Repeat this process two more times with the hot saffron chicken stock. When the third addition of the stock has absorbed and the rice is very creamy, bite a couple grains of rice to be sure it is cooked perfectly. If it is still a little crunchy, add a little more stock and cook the rice for another couple of minutes. When the rice is cooked perfectly, remove it from the heat.
5. Toss in the butter and peas. Stir to melt butter and defrost peas.

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