Risotto with Bacon, Silver Queen Corn, and Catfish
Southern flavors transform risotto — suddenly it’s a dish with New South ambitions. Bacon adds Southern taste to the broth in which catfish pieces are simmered, cross-pollinating both the broth and the catfish with new tastes. The broth brings these flavors to the risotto. Add the Silver Queen corn to the risotto, mound it on warmed plates, and top with catfish pieces — New South, with some very traditional Southern ingredients.
- Bacon and Broth
- Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Bacon - 1⁄4 pound, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- Celery - 1⁄4 cup, chopped, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
- Onion - 1⁄3 cup, chopped, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
- Bay Leaves - 2
- Chicken broth - 6 cups
- Shallots - 1⁄3 cup, thinly sliced and peeled
- Roasted Garlic Purée - 2 tablespoons
- Catfish fillets - 6, about 6 ounces each
- Silver Queen Corn
- Silver Queen Corn - 2 cups
- Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper
- Butter - 7 tablespoons, divided
- Arborio Rice - 2 cups
- Dry white wine - 1⁄2 cup
- Reserved broth
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese - 1⁄2 cup
To make the bacon and broth: In a medium skillet heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. With a slotted spoon remove the bacon onto absorbent toweling.
To the skillet in which the bacon cooked add the chopped celery, chopped onion, and bay leaves and saute for 5 minutes, being careful not to brown. Add the chicken stock, shallots, and roasted garlic, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. The broth should be a little salty. After 15 minutes add the catfish and gently simmer for 4 minutes or until the catfish is cooked through, but not overcooked. Carefully remove the fish to a plate, cut into chunks, and keep warm. Remove and discard the bay leaves and strain the broth, reserving the solids. In a food processor purée the solids, and add back to the broth.
To prepare the corn: In a small saucepan melt the butter and add the corn. Season with salt and pepper. Gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and reserve.
To make the risotto: In a saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and add the rice. Cook, stirring until the rice is opaque and thoroughly coated with the butter. Add the white wine and stir constantly until the liquid has all absorbed into the rice.
In a separate medium saucepan heat the broth to a simmer. To the rice add the hot broth 1⁄2 cup at a time, constantly stirring after each addition until the liquid is completely absorbed. The risotto will become more creamy with each addition of hot broth. Toward the end, add the reserved bacon, half of the catfish fillet pieces, and the cooked corn. At the very end add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the Parmesan. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
To serve: Divide the risotto among 4 serving plates and place reserved catfish pieces on top of each portion. Serve very hot.