Waikanae Crab Risotto with Crème Fraiche

11:30 am on 22 August 2011

This wonderfully creamy risotto makes use of two local treasures from the sea. The fine crab is sourced off the Kapiti Coast, and the superb greenshell mussels are grown on Coromandel coastline farms. Be sure to reserve the juices from the mussels to tip into the stock, as their rich, pungent flavours add extra depth to the risotto.

(Serves 4)

Soul CrabRisottoIngredients

  • 500g fresh greenshell mussels
  • 300ml white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 750ml chicken stock
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 250g Ferron risotto rice
  • 300g crabmeat
  • 50g butter, extra
  • 25g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
  • 4 tablespoons chive batons
  • sprigs of chervil
  • 1 radish, very thinly sliced


In a pan, steam the mussels in half the white wine until they start to open. Strain the mussels, adding all the juices to the chicken stock. Pick over the mussels, discarding the shells, tough ligaments, the outer lips and the feet. Chop the remaining mussel meat. Reserve this for adding to the risotto.

Bring the mussel and chicken stock up to the boil in another pan and keep this on a very slow simmer as you begin the risotto.

Take another medium-sized pan and sweat the onion and garlic in the butter. Make sure the onion is cooked through before adding the rice. Seal for approximately 5 minutes and then deglaze with the remaining white wine. As soon as the white wine has evaporated, start to add the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring constantly.

When all the stock is incorporated and the rice is cooked (12–15 minutes, depending on the temperature and the size of the pan), remove from the heat and mix through the crabmeat, the reserved mussels, the second measure of butter and the Parmigiano Reggiano.

Finish the risotto by gently stirring in some of the lemon zest and all of the juice, adjust the seasoning by adding salt if needed, and finally stir through the crème fraiche. Garnish with the remaining lemon zest, chive batons, sprigs of chervil and slices of radish and serve at once.

Wine recommendation

Jo Burzynska MA AIWS

Wine editor - Viva, New Zealand Herald

Author of Wine Class: All you need to know about wine in New Zealand (Random House)

Huia Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Churton Marlborough Viognier 2010

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