Ken Duckworth graciously shares his recipe for the most divine lobster risotto!
Friday night we celebrated my husband Tom’s birthday at Ken and Nicole’s fabulous restaurant, Duckworth’s Bistrot. Located on East Main Street, which runs along Gloucester’s working inner harbor, it is a mere 100 steps from their front door to ours, although whenever entering Duckworth’s, I feel transported and am reminded of the lovely bistrots dotting Parisian neighborhoods and seaside ristorantes along the Amalfi coastline. Cosmopolitan, yet neighborly, with its intimate and inviting atmosphere, Duckworth’s is my and my family’s favorite restaurant for special occasions—birthdays, anniversaries, graduations—truly any celebration gives reason to call for a reservation!
Chef Ken Duckworth draws from myriad influences, American and international, and the ingredients are pure New England. Captain Joe & Sons supplies fresh lobsters daily, the shrimp is wild caught and from domestic waters, and produce, eggs, and cheese are provided by local farmers. Changes to the menu are made day to day, depending on the seasonal availability of ingredients, although there are several dishes that are nearly always on the menu including Ken’s beautiful fruits of the sea stew, the crispy polenta and portabella mushroom appetizer, and my all time favorite, the lobster and vegetable risotto, with sautéed greens. All the desserts are made by Nicole Duckworth and with notice, she is able to create made-to-order cakes for special occasions.
Andy, who also works in the kitchen, was our waiter Friday night, and over the years we’ve gotten to know Dan and Michelle. The staff is one of the reasons why a night out at Duckworth’s is always joyful experience. Thank you Duckworth’s for making my husband’s birthday so delightfully delicious and enjoyable!
Duckworth’s Bistrot Lobster Risotto
Lobster Sauce (yield 1 qt)
6-8 Med lobster bodies split in ½ lengthwise
1 large yellow onion, medium dice
2 carrots, med dice
4 ribs celery, med dice
4 fennel stalks, med dice
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
pinch of saffron
¼ cup tomato paste
zest of 1 lemon
½ cup brandy or cognac
1 qt milk
1 qt lt cream
4 oz butter
- Melt butter in heavy casserole, add lobster bodies and sauté for about 3 minutes on both sides. Remove bodies leaving remaining butter and liquids in pan.
- Add all vegetables and cook until slightly caramelized
- Add bay leaves, saffron, zest, and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes
- Add brandy/cognac
- Return bodies to pot and add milk and cream
- Bring to simmer and refrigerate overnight
- Next day return to heat, bring to simmer and reduce to sauce-like consistency
- Stain thru sieve pressing bodies and vegetables with a ladle
- Strain again thru chinois and season with salt and cayenne
Lobster risotto, serves 4
½ cup small diced onion
1 ½ cup Arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock or water
4 one pound lobsters, cooked and picked, meat cut into chunks
3 tbsp butter or oil
- Bring liquid to simmer in pan
- In another pan melt butter, sauté onion until soft. Add rice, stirring until rice is thoroughly coated and slightly toasted. Add 1 cup of liquid and cook until absorbed. Continue on low heat adding ½ cup of liquid at a time until rice is al dente.
- Fold in lobster meat, any blanched vegetables you like and about 2 cups of sauce. Stir until everything is incorporated.
- Check seasoning
- Remaining sauce can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for about a week.
- Let me know if you try Ken’s recipe, either at home or at the restaurant. You will find yourself in epicurean heaven, I promise!