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White Corn Risotto with Shrimp

September 27, 2010

by Elizabeth

It has taken me for.ever. to write this post. Which is ridiculous because this is a really good dish, and one that is perfectly suited for the end of summer. (In Texas, it’s still summer, I don’t care what the calendar says.) It’s taken forever due to the absurdity of my inspiration for making it…reality TV. Well, Top Chef actually, but it’s still reality TV, which is slightly embarrassing.

Every season I get hopelessly addicted to Top Chef. Typically, I don’t really care who wins, although I have plenty of opinions about who should be going home each week, and I’ve never once even thought of trying to recreate one of their dishes because obviously they are way too advanced for me. Plus, those chefs run around like crazy people on speed and half of their kitchen conversation is bleeped out due to the massive amounts of expletives, so it’s a little hard to really figure out what they’re doing.

A few weeks ago one of the chefs made shrimp and corn fritters for a “Ballpark Food” challenge, and I had a moment. An, “ohmygod, that’s genius, why I have I never thought of putting CORN in my RISOTTO?! Hmm, that’s why these people are on Top Chef, Liz” moment. As it turns out, I wasn’t overly impressed with the corn risotto recipes I found online, until I discovered that Bravo has the Top Chef recipes on their website (who knew!). So I played with the recipe a little bit, we had the risotto dish one night, and it was delicious, and the next night I made fritters with the leftovers, and they were to.die.for. Once again, that’s why these people are on top chef, Liz.

White Corn Risotto with Shrimp

adapted from Ed Cotton,

serves 4, or 2 servings of risotto with enough leftovers for 2 servings of fritters. If you just make the fritters, it will make plenty of appetizers for 6.

2 ears of corn

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1/2 cup milk

1 lb shrimp

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 cup minced onion

1 garlic clove1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 cups (or so) chicken stock

3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a combination of parmesan and strong white cheddar)

1 oz goat cheese

1 tablespoon minced parsley

2 tablespoons minced chives

salt and pepper to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon of each)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat in a small skillet. Cut the corn kernels from the cob, and add to the skillet, cooking until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Take about half of the corn kernels and purée with the milk in a food processor, until you have a creamy consistency. Set corn purée and corn kernels aside.

Meanwhile, toss the shrimp with the paprika, salt, and pepper. Saute in a small skillet with one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, just until shrimp is no longer pink. Set aside.

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in small pot, lower heat to medium low. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter with the remaining olive oil in a large sauce or risotto pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 3 minutes or so, do not let them brown. Add the rice and stir, coating it with the butter and oil. Let it toast for 1 minute.

Add the wine, stir the risotto continuously, making sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. When the liquid is nearly all absorbed, add a ladle of warm chicken stock to the risotto. Stir continuously until it is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Repeat this process, adding stock in about 3/4 cup increments, until the risotto is cooked. It’s ready when the risotto is thick and creamy, but the rice is still just al dente. I usually start tasting it when I’ve used 3/4 of the stock.

Stir in the reserved corn purée, corn kernels, and cheeses. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, fold in the fresh herbs and plate with shrimp atop a mound of risotto.

Corn Risotto Fritters

Make sure the leftover risotto is very cold. If not using leftovers, spread the risotto out on a sheet pan and refrigerate for an hour or so. Chop the shrimp into small pieces and mix it into the risotto. Prep a breading station with three shallow bowls filled with 1 cup of flour, 1 beaten egg, and 1 – 2 cups panko bread crumbs. (You might need more of each if you are using the entire recipe for fritters.) Using your hands, form balls or cakes with the risotto – balls should be no bigger than 2 inches diameter, cakes no bigger than 3 inches in diameter. Dip each risotto cake first in the flour, being sure to coat all sides. Then dip in the egg wash, then the panko. Press the panko into the cake to make sure it really sticks. I find it’s easiest to set them on a piece of parchment paper while you finish. I sprinkled each one with a dash of cayenne for an extra kick (alternately you could mince up some jalapeno and mix into the risotto).

Heat some vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet, maybe an 1/8 of a cup. If you made risotto balls, you will need more oil so it is deep enough to cook them evenly. When the oil is very hot, shimmering but not yet smoking, transfer the fritters to the pan using a spatula. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until crunchy and golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Enjoy!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2010 8:48 am

    The risotto looks really delicious! It’s so creamy and rich! Can’t wait to try it!
    Thanks for this yummy recipe 🙂


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