Sicilian Lobster Arancini (Fried Risotto Balls) with Saffron Aioli Sauce
Lobster Arancini are a Sicilian delicacy! The creamy risotto rice balls are breaded and fried and stuffed with lobster meat. Serve them with a spicy Saffron Aioli dipping sauce or buttery Bearnaise. The best part about this recipe is that they can be made ahead of time for a party, and can be easily re-heated right before serving.
Course Fish, Rice
Prep Time 8hours
Cook Time 10minutes
Total Time 8hours10minutes
Author Homemade Italian Cooking with Cara
2tbspextra virgin olive oil
2cups15 oz Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1cupwhite winePinot Grigio
3tablespoonslemon juice or juice of half a lemon
4cupslobster stock + 1 cup watersimmering on the stove
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1cupparmesan cheesefreshly grated
2cupscooked lobster meatdiced
2eggsbeaten & 3 eggs, beaten - in separate bowls.
2cupsbreadcrumbshalf panko, half regular
8 - 10saffron threads
1tablespoonvery hot water
1tablespoonextra virgin olive oil
Juice one lemon
1teaspoonblack pepperfreshly ground
To make the risotto: Heat the oil and butter is a large enamel pot on the stove. Add shallots, salt and pepper and saute until lightly browned. Add the rice and stir, cooking until lightly toasted about 3-4 minutes. Add the white wine while stirring. Add the lemon juice. With the heat on medium high, begin adding the seafood stock a little at a time, and continuously stirring, until all the stock has been used and the rice is al dente and creamy. Turn off heat, and mix in the parmesan cheese. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
Spread the risotto in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with baking spray. Sprinkle the peas on top. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
To make the Saffron Aioli: :Place 8-10 threads of saffron in 1 tablespoon of hot water in a small mixing bowl. Let steep for 5 minutes. Add salt, black pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard and mayonnaise and combine thoroughly. Cover and keep chilled until ready to serve to allow the flavors to blend.
To make the arancini:: Melt the butter in a pan, and warm the diced lobster meat. Set aside to cool in a small bowl.
Place the cold risotto in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 beaten eggs and stir in the cold risotto with ½ cup bread crumbs until well combined.
Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a deep medium bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons water to the remaining 3 beaten eggs to make a thin egg wash.
Place the flour in a small bowl. Arrange the breading station with the flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs.
Grab a handful of rice mixture and form a ball the size of an orange. Make a dent in the center with your thumb. Place a few pieces of lobster meat in the center of the cupped rice. Next, close the rice around the filling and shape into a ball. Add a little more rice if needed. It is up to you on the size - large like oranges, or small like tangerines.
Roll the arancini in flour, then roll in the beaten egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Set aside until all of the risotto mixture has been used.
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. Add the arancini a few at a time, and cook quickly until golden brown. Do not crowd. Remove from oil and place on paper towel lined baking sheet to drain.
Serve immediately with Saffron Aioli or Bearnaise.
Note 1: These also can be made ahead of time. If so, deep fry them to light golden brown and drain on a paper towel. Refrigerate or freeze the arancini. To reheat, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in an oven at 400ºF for 10 minutes or until hot inside.
Note 2: You can also fry them in a skillet with 3 inches of oil but it will take longer, and harder to keep their round shape. They will still taste great.
Note 3: If you eat them them right away the centers will be creamier. If you reheat them, they will be a bit drier. I recommend serving them with a creamy sauce like Aioli or Bearnaise.