Chef Hervé Glin is a big man. “I love to eat,” he says, wryly surveying his own bulk. He also likes to feed people, which he does at his clubby Cité Grill at 5860 Westheimer in Houston. His fondness for seafood and many of his culinary ideas come from his native Brittany, but his experience at restaurants in Washington, D.C., and the Napa Valley and at Houston’s La Colombe d’Or have given an American accent to his repertoire. In this recipe for sun-dried-tomato risotto, he adds a spunky Southwestern touch to an Italian classic. “You can use almost any fish instead of snapper, and you can substitute shrimp or crabmeat for the crayfish,” he says, “as long as they’re fresh.”
1 1⁄4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (use the type sold in oil)
1⁄3 cup pine nuts
8 fresh basil leaves
1–2 anchovy filets (optional)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Drain oil from tomatoes and reserve for risotto. Smoke 1⁄2 cup tomatoes over mesquite (low heat) for 10 minutes (or heat a dry skillet until it smokes; toss tomatoes on it until skins are dark brown).
Place first 6 ingredients in food processor and slowly add olive oil while puréeing to a creamy consistency. Set aside.
1⁄2 cup oil from sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1⁄2 pound arborio rice
1⁄2 cup dry Chardonnay
4 cups chicken broth, approximately
In 4-quart casserole, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and cayenne, cooking until limp. Stir in rice until grains are coated. Add wine and then broth 1⁄2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed each time. Rice should have a creamy consistency (neither runny nor dry) and should double in volume. Reduce heat and cook 15 more minutes, the last 5 covered.
If rice is not to be used immediately, spread on buttered sheet pan and refrigerate. Reserve 11⁄2 cups broth to reheat rice.
12–16 ounces crayfish tails (use cooked kind)
Toss with 2 tablespoons of tomato pesto and sauté in skillet over medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes. Reserve 6 tablespoons pesto for presentation; add rest of pesto and crayfish to risotto.
2–21⁄2 pounds red snapper filets
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly sear both sides of fish in hot skillet in 1 tablespoon oil. Place filets in ovenproof pan and cook until opaque, 3–8 minutes.
To serve, spread risotto on warm plate, place fish in center, spoon some pesto over fish, garnish with steamed asparagus, scallions, and Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.