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Cooking with Color (just one): Crabmeat + Fennel Risotto with Stuffed Squid and Fennel Puree

June 8, 2013 by Joan Nova in Creative Cooking Crew Challenge, Food Challenge, Italian, Recipe Development, Rice/Risotto, Seafood | 23 Comments

Color has always been an important ingredient in the FOODalogue kitchen … lots of red, green, orange and purple on the plate because, you know, eating healthy is a colorful thing.

But, this month’s challenge for the Creative Cooking Crew was to “create a complete and cohesive dish with only one color”. I chose white because I wanted the multiple challenge of preparation, presentation, photography (<it wasn’t easy) and also to prove that all white food is not bad for you. Think fish, mushrooms, cannellini beans, white asparagus, cauliflower, and wine!

I love these challenges! They’re fun to do and even more fun to see what everyone else does. And, in the life of a food blogger, we get to eat our work — this one was a winner.

Crab Meat + Fennel Risotto with Stuffed Squid and Fennel Puree

The dish has 3 components: stuffed calamari, creamy lump crab meat risotto, and fennel puree.

I was surprised at how many white ingredients were just a natural addition to complement the dish: arborio rice, lump crab meat, squid, fennel bulb, onions, garlic, white wine, white mushrooms, panko, parmesan reggiano, salt, white pepper, white balsamic syrup, cream. Other Ingredients: olive oil, fennel fronds.

The baby squid were poached in white wine with minced onions, fennel, white mushrooms and garlic that had been sauteed in olive oil. The stuffing is a mixture of  lump crab meat, panko, the sauteed onions/fennel/mushrooms/garlic mixture, a little parmesan and a little cream to hold it together. It was quickly pan-seared before serving.

To those of you who adhere to the ‘no cheese with fish’  school of thought, be you Scott Conant or the guy down the street, I respectfully disagree and say … your loss.

Risotto: arborio rice was added to the minced onions, fennel, garlic and mushrooms; then cooked slowly with the liquid from lump crab meat container, white wine poaching liquid from calamari, a little fennel puree and broth. A pat of butter, lump crab meat and freshly grated parmesan were added a little before serving.

Fennel Puree: raw fennel pulsed with white balsamic syrup, onion, garlic and olive oil. This was added to the risotto liquid while cooking and drizzled over top when plated.

I drank a Verdejo from Spain (my current favorite white wine) with this meal.

The colorful round-up will be hosted on Laz Cooks on June 28.


NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. bellini says:

    You have outdone yourself this time Joan. There would not be a speck left after I was finished with all that mildly flavoured fennel, rice and stuffed squid. Funny how we should both post about squid. Those squid I caught all of those years ago would have been greatly improved by your preparation.

  2. I knew you would come up with something exciting and you did…Hard color but you worked it. BRAVO!

  3. Faith says:

    What an elegant dish! I love what you did with white, Joan…and I’ve craving a good risotto lately too!
    Faith recently posted..Strawberry Black Bean SaladMy Profile

  4. Lori Lynn says:

    Sounds absolutely delicious Joan! The dish looks so elegant. Love that you chose white and that you garnished with a hint of green too. Super creative.
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Risotto: Carrot, Cumin, Vodka, Creme FraicheMy Profile

  5. I think the all white brings a touch of elegance to the place. Very classy dish Joan.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Breakfast with friends – part of the Annual Blogger Get-Together + We’re Moving AgainMy Profile

  6. This looks just great! I think you achieved your goal.
    Patricia Durr recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge – Signs SayMy Profile

  7. Love the last photo! I also like cheese with crab! YUM!
    A Canadian Foodie recently posted..The Great Northern PikeMy Profile

  8. White? I admire you more and more with each post. Not only is your dish visually stunning (not easy to do with white!), it sounds utterly delicious. In fact, I wish I were having it right now for breakfast!
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..A Special Tuna Salad and Moroccan Market FoodMy Profile

  9. sippitysup says:

    Can food be angelic? GREG
    sippitysup recently posted..Baby Kale Strawberry Salad- From My Garden to My PlateMy Profile

  10. Jean says:

    I’d say you met this challenge and then some! What a winning combination of flavors. Plus, I’ve been on a crab kick lately (my next post is also crab) so this gets an A+ in my book. :)
    Jean recently posted..Chocolate Cherry Almond BiscottiMy Profile

  11. christo says:

    very creative and it sounds so delicious – I wish I could try some!
    christo recently posted..The Color Purple – CCC challenge June = COLORMy Profile

  12. Nuria says:

    Hola guapa!!!

    Thanks for your comment, I’m so happy you like my new blog :D.

    I might pack my things and come for lunch to your house… you are tempting me with this delicious risotto. If rice is involved… I’m in!!! Great pictures by the way. Muchos besitos querida!
    Nuria recently posted..I’m finally moving from Blogger to WordPress!!!My Profile

  13. OMG your white dish looks phenomenal. I so want to try the baby squid. White is a challenge for photography and you did a fab job at it.
    Evelyne@cheapethniceatz recently posted..My 6th Blogiversary: Raw Pesto SpaghettiMy Profile

  14. Erica says:

    Wow! That looks beautiful and delicious,Joan!Love the pictures and presentation! Buen trabajo!
    Erica recently posted..Shrimp, Chorizo and Yuca HashMy Profile

  15. Laz says:

    Lovely dish. Creative and elegant. We represented for the White Team…=)

  16. Your dish is stunning Joan! I wish I was eating this for dinner – sounds so wonderfully delicious!

  17. deana sidney says:

    I had crab risotto years ago and loved it. It is a luxury dish to be sure. You have done a beautiful job with your white dish and that gorgeous stuffed squid. The plate is just about perfect!
    deana sidney recently posted..Scotney Castle and Cherry Coupe with Cherry Rose CookiesMy Profile

  18. I love the idea of a fennel crab risotto, yum! Your dish looks so elegant as always, Joan.
    La Diva Cucina recently posted..They call me Mellow Yellow…an Entire Dish Comprised of ONE Color!My Profile

  19. Victoria says:

    This looks wonderful! The number of all white ingredients that went into this is astounding. And I think cheese with seafood is just fine if done right, and here it most definitely is :)

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