Nathan Outlaw conjures a scrumptious summery risotto. If you’re not a fan of cockles, you could use any seafood in its place.
Any good seaweed will work too, even crushed nori sheets. It just needs to be dehydrated and blitzed, to tenderise in the risotto
• 150g granary or sourdough bread, crusts removed and torn into pieces
• 1 litre vegetable or fish stock
• 50ml light olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
• 50g unsalted butter
• 1 large white onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved (germ removed) and finely chopped
• 240g carnaroli risotto rice
• 50ml white wine vinegar
• 100ml dry white wine
• 2 tbsp dried seaweed flakes, plus an extra 1 tsp to garnish
• 1kg live cockles
• 100g Parmesan, freshly grated
• 8 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
• a handful of tarragon, leaves picked and chopped
• a handful of dill, leaves picked and finely chopped
• 1 lime, zest only
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Preheat your oven to 200°C. Put the pieces of bread on an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden and crisp.
2 Meanwhile, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan over a low heat and keep it at a steady simmer.
3 Place another heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter starts to bubble, add the onion, fennel and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
4 Tip the crisp bread pieces onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain; set aside.
5 Pour the wine vinegar and wine into the rice pan and cook, stirring, until reduced right down to almost nothing, about 3 minutes. Add the 2 tbsp dried seaweed. Now add the stock, a ladleful at a time and stir slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon, for 12 minutes. Allow each ladleful of stock to be fully absorbed before you add the next.
6 Next add the cockles along with another ladleful of stock and cook for 2 minutes, or until the cockles start to open. Immediately add the grated Parmesan, spring onions and chopped herbs and turn off the heat.
7 Give the risotto a careful stir and share between 4 warmed plates. Scatter over the crisp bread pieces and lime zest, and finish with a sprinkling of seaweed. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Nathan Outlaw, extracted from Nathan Outlaw’s Everyday Seafood