Preserved Lemon & Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Pernod Shrimp


Preserved Lemon & Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Pernod Shrimp


It is Friday…a real Friday, for me…thank the heavens above!  The horse show last week&{end} has rendered this little family unit on active duty for eleven days straight…that doesn’t sound like a lot to me right now but I assure you, it feels HUGE!

We have this weekend “off”, sort of...there are still the horses & barn duties but we are all home together for  a few days.  Just a few though, the children & I leave for Paso Robles this week…another horse show & Max is joining us {Michael will follow towards the end of the week, depending on his business schedule}.  Madison, Max & Mallory all have Spring Break this week and it happens to coincide with Mallory’s first classic three-day event at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, CA.  You can read more about the equestrian sport of classic, 3-day eventing by clicking here.

When I planned tonight’s dinner, over a week-and-a-half ago, this dish sounded wonderful.  After all, Spring asparagus, peas, shrimp, Pernod!  But, I hate to admit, that the effort was more than I wanted to invest on this Friday, following a VERY long week {and a half}.  I persevered and the resulting dinner was FABULOUS but, I struggled along the way {dreaming of sitting in a restaurant being served}.  I don’t want to discourage you from this dish…it really turned out EXEMPLARY but I do not recommend for a weeknight dinner…save it for a special occasion when you have some time to invest.  The result is really SPECTACULAR!

Preserved Lemon & Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Pernod Shrimp {adapted from}

for the risotto

  • 1/4cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced, about 1 tbsp.
  • fine sea salt, to taste
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup Pernod, or other anise apéritif
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 8 cups hot {homemade} chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons rinsed and finely diced preserved lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch lengths and blanched in salted, boiling water
  • freshly ground white pepper
for the shrimp

  • 25 large, de-veined shrimp, shell on
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Pernod, or other anise apéritif
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced, about 3 tsp.
  • zest of half a large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the shrimp with the oil, Pernod, garlic, zest, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature while you make the risotto.
  2. Prepare all of your risotto ingredients: blanch the asparagus, heat the stock, chop and measure everything out, placing it all close to hand by the stove. Once you start stirring risotto, there’s no stopping.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Season with salt about halfway through.
  4. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice for about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat.
  5. Add the Pernod and lemon juice to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  6. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. It’s important to regulate the heat at this point. The rice should neither boil vigorously nor cook too slowly. You’re looking for an even, medium heat that gives the rice a billowy loft and brings some bubbles to the surface.
  7. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladlefuls and stirring. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that toward the end the rice really gives itself over to the liquid, releasing its starch to make a kind of cream. Stop incorporating stock once the rice is creamy but still al dente, cooked but not too soft. This can take between 20 and 30 minutes, and between 6 and 8 cups of stock.
  8. Remove the risotto from the heat, and immediately fold in the butter, mascarpone, preserved lemon rind, peas, several grinds of white pepper and most of the mint (save some for garnish). The heat of the risotto will cook the peas. Stir slowly to blend, check a final time for seasoning, and carefully fold in the asparagus. Put a lid on the risotto and let it rest while you quickly grill the shrimp. The risotto will expand slightly in volume, and take on a marvellous sheen.
  9. Grill or broil the shrimp for about 60 seconds on each side, or until the flesh is completely opaque.
  10. Top each serving of risotto with 4 shrimp, garnish with mint and a flourish of pepper, and serve.



Get the shrimp marinating…shells on & veins off!


Click here to learn how to de-vein shrimp {but keep the shells on!…Keeping the shells on will help retain the natural juices of the shrimp & prevent drying out the meat.  It will also allow the marinade to work it’s full magic!}…





I finally get to use the lemons I preserved 2 months ago…check it  out here


And click here to check out this totally awesome method of blanching asparagus from the Kitchn…



Before you start the risotto…make sure everything is “mise en place


While the Risotto rests, grill the shrimp…


And the finished dinner plate…it really was spectacular!


We ate by simple candlelight tonight…tea lights on top of wild rice in Weck canning jars…it was BEAUTIFUL!



How do you celebrate Friday?  Let me know…


BUT, before I go…a Friday night sunset {courtesy of Beverly Jacobs Equine Massage}


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