Crab & saffron risotto, garnished with grilled asparagus, pan fried pollack, dressed white crab meat and crispy rock samphire.

Crab & saffron risotto

This recipe is great as it makes the most of the cheaper brown meat. It’s great on its own, with some green beans, broccoli or seasonal greens, but for a special meal, you could add a pan fried fillet of white fish, such as pollack, and/or some dressed white crab meat.  While not strictly a seasonal dish, crab is abundant year round, and this dish works well with all kinds seasonal greens and vegetables: asparagus, French beans, broccoli, cavolo nero, winter greens…

To make enough for 6 to 8 people


  • 500g arborio rice
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • A good pinch of saffron, steeped in a little hot water
  • Olive oil
  • 300ml white wine
  • 1 litre crab or fish stock (if buying the crab from a fishmonger, ask for a bag of crab carcasses – they’re ideal for making a stock, boiled up with onion, celery, garlic, bay, or whatever veg trimmings you might have to hand)
  • 200g brown crab meat
  • 200g crème fraîche
  • Around 75g parmesan, finely grated.
  • Salt and pepper


  • Steep the saffron in a little hot water in a small bowl.
  • Mix together the brown crab and crème fraîche in a small bowl.
  • Soften the onion, celery, carrot and garlic on a medium heat in a couple glugs of olive oil. Season.
  • Add the arborio rice and stir in sell until nicely coated with oil and is turning translucent.
  • Add the white wine. If you have a timer, set it to 25 mins at this point. Season again.
  • Add crab stock bit by bit as the risotto absorbs the liquid. And keep stiring gently.
  • After 20 minutes, add the crab and crème fraiche, saffron and parmesan, and stir in well.
  • Add more stock if required, and keep stiring for the last five minutes. Take off the heat and let sit for a minute or two before serving.

For the garnishes


2 large or 4 small fillets of pollack, halved or quartered, to give each serving a small portion of panfried fillet. If using, you’ll want get the fish frying with about 8 minutes to go on the risotto. Heat a generous amount of oil on a high heat in a non-stick pan and lay the fillet skin side down – salt the skin first. Keep it moving in the pan from time to time and turn after around 5 minutes.

Cod or haddock would work well too, but we use pollack as it’s usually readily available from our fish supplier, who only use day boats around the Helford and eastern shores of the Lizard, guaranteeing the fish is super fresh. Pollack is also generally fairy abundant in our coastal waters, and therefore less of a concern from a sustainability perspective.

Dressed white crab meat

  • 150g white crab meat
  • Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful of parsley

It’s nice to garnish the risotto with some tasty white crab meat, enhanced with some lemon zest and juice, parsely and a glug of olive oil to lubricate. Add salt and pepper to your preference. 150 grams of white meat will be enough to give each serving a small, golf ball sized dollop.


Seasonal greens. We like using asparagus in their season, French beans during the summer months, but brassicas such as cavolo nero, kale or winter greens also work well. Blanche them briefly until just tender, and then quickly sauté in lemon juice, olive oil and garlic.