Spider crab, lemon & thyme risotto with tea smoked scallops, and a beurre noisette




For the risotto

  • 1 litre (1.7pt) chicken stock
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 250g (9oz) risotto rice
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 50ml (2floz) double cream
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 250g (9oz) fresh white crab meat
  • Ingredients for tea smoked scallops.
  • 8 hand dived scallops, cleaned and shelled
  • 50g (2oz) demerara sugar
  • 50g (2oz) long grain rice
  • 20g (0.7oz) Lapsang Souchon and English tea
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the fish

  • 2 large fillets of grey mullet,
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 110g (4oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bag baby spinach


  1. For the risotto, place the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

  2. Heat a large saucepan until hot, add the butter, olive oil, onion and garlic and sweat for 2-3 minutes until just softened.

  3. Add the rice and stir well to coat the rice in butter.

  4. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir well.

  5. Reduce the heat to low, then add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring well between each addition – allow the stock to become fully absorbed before adding any more stock.

  6. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the rice is tender and all the stock absorbed.

  7. Add the thyme, double cream and cheese and stir well then season with salt and black pepper.

  8. Finally, stir in the crab and adjust the seasoning once more.

  9. For the scallops, thread the scallops onto skewers and brush with olive oil. If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them in water first.

  10. Fold a large piece of foil into 4 and place in the bottom of a wok.

  11. Pour the sugar, rice and tea onto the foil in the bottom of the wok.

  12. Set a rack across the top then rest the skewers of scallops on the rack.

  13. Season the scallops with a little salt and black pepper.

  14. Place the wok over a very low heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes.

  15. The scallops will be smokey in colour and just cooked through.

  16. For the fish, first make the buerre noisette – place half of the butter into a frying pan and heat until it goes nut brown in colour.

  17. Add the lemon juice, capers and parsley, this stops the cooking process.

  18. Set this aside, it can be reheated later.

  19. Season the fish and slash the skin side, this is to stop it curling whilst it is frying.

  20. Heat the oil in a hot frying pan and place the fish skin side down – this will be the presentation side and so wait until the skin has turned crisp and golden-brown in colour. Carefully turn the fish onto the flesh side for the last couple of minutes until cooked through.

  21. Meanwhile wash the spinach.

  22. Heat the remaining butter in a pan and drop in the damp spinach, there will be enough moisture in the spinach to wilt it in the butter. The spinach is done as soon as it wilts after only two or three minutes.

  23. To serve, using a chef's ring, make a pile of the risotto to one side of the plate.

  24. Slice the scallops finely and place on top of the risotto.

  25. Place a neat bed of spinach on the plate.

  26. Top with a piece of fish, with the skin side up and dress the buerre noisette around and over the fish.