Moreton bay bug and fennel risotto with lemon oil


by: Ana Banana

Thenus orientalis is a species of slipper lobster from the Indian and Pacific oceans.


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serves: 4

10 raw Moreton Bay bug tails (or 2 (1-lb/450-g) raw lobsters)

5-5 1/2 cups (1.2-1.25 liters) Chicken Stock

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 fennel bulb (thinly sliced)

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

2 shallots (minced)

1 clove garlic (crushed)

1 1/2 cups (350 g) risotto rice (such as arborio)

1/2 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon (15 g) butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped herb fennel (or the frondy tops from the fennel bulb)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


sprigs of herb fennel

Parmesan shavings

Lemon Olive Oil

Nutrition Facts
Moreton bay bug and fennel risotto with lemon oil

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 797

  • Total Fat: 14.9 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 156.4 mg
  • Sodium: 633.5 mg
  • Total Carbs: 129.4 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 11.4 g
  •     Sugars: 5.8 g
  • Protein: 43.5 g

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1.  If you are using Moreton Bay bugs, break open the shell along the underside of each one and lift out the meat. Cut the bug meats across into slices 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick. If you are using lobsters, kill them, then drop them into a large pan of rapidly boiling water. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. They will still be partly raw, but this will make it easier for you to get the meat out of the shell. Lift out of the pan and, when cool enough to handle, crack open the shells and remove the meat. Cut the meat into chunks.

2.  Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a pan and leave over a low heat. Heat a dry, heavy-bottomed frying pan over a high heat, add the fennel seeds, and toss them around for a few seconds until they start to darken slightly and smell nicely aromatic. Tip into a mortar or spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

3.  Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the fennel, ground fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, shallots, and garlic and cook until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the oil. Increase the heat, add a ladleful of the hot chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low and let simmer, adding another ladleful of stock as each one is absorbed and stirring frequently, until the rice is almost cooked, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

4.  Add the sliced bug meats or lobster meat and stir. Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until just cooked through.

5.  Fold in the Parmesan, butter, lemon juice, and some seasoning to taste. Stir in the herb fennel. The risotto should not be not too wet-if it is, increase the heat and cook to evaporate the excess liquid.

6.  Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls. Garnish each with fennel sprigs, Parmesan shavings, black pepper, and a drizzle of lemon oil.

Cooks' note:
Moreton Bay bugs (also called shovel-nosed lobster and locust lobster) are from the same family as lobster, spiny or rock lobster, and crayfish, and all would be suitable for this dish. Peeled, raw large shrimp would also work very well, but leave them whole-don't cut them up. You'll need to use about 12 to 16. You could also use cooked lobster meat, folded in at the end of cooking just to heat through.

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