Preserved Lemon and Spring Vegetable Risotto with Grilled Pernod Shrimp

By • March 15, 2010 47 Comments

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Author Notes: This risotto is a celebration of the verdant flavours of asparagus, pea, fennel, and mint, all highlighted by the golden glow of preserved lemon. You can replace the preserved lemon with fresh lemon, but you’ll lose the wonderful mellowness that preserved lemon imparts – an almost candied quality that adds delicious warmth to this luscious bed of buttered comfort. We love this with grilled shrimp, but well-seared scallops, or fillets of black cod or sea bass will also do very well. NOTES: Depending on the saltiness of both your stock and the preserved lemons, you may need to use up to a tablespoon of salt in this recipe. It’s best to add a little at a time throughout the process, tasting as you go, and seasoning one last time if necessary before serving. You can replace the preserved lemon rind with the zest of a large lemon, but reduce the amount of lemon juice by half if you do. Following the ban on absinthe in 1915, anise-based liqueur became the favourite long-drink of French gourmands from Paris to Marseille. Pour one fifth liqueur to four-fifths water over ice, and serve little picholine olives on the side. Sunshine in a glass.The Dog's Breakfast

Food52 Review: We'll never turn down a spring risotto that's flush with asparagus and peas, but we've come to expect a rich and buttery dish that tamps down the seasonal embellishments. Not so here -- The Dog's Breakfast uses anise-scented Pernod and lemon juice to brighten the rice and broiled sweet shrimp to underscore the clean flavors in the asparagus and peas. Plan this dish for your next dinner party (and save the shrimp portion of the recipe to grill for weeknight dinners.) - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6 to 8

for the risotto

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced, about 1 tbsp.
  • fine sea salt, to taste
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup Pernod, or other anise apéritif
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 6-8 cups hot chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons rinsed and finely diced preserved lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch lengths and blanched in salted, boiling water
  • freshly ground white pepper

for the shrimp

  • 24 to 32 large, de-veined shrimp, shell on
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod, or other anise apéritif
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced, about 3 tsp.
  • zest of half a large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the shrimp with the oil, Pernod, garlic, zest, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature while you make the risotto.
  2. Prepare all of your risotto ingredients: blanch the asparagus, heat the stock, chop and measure everything out, placing it all close to hand by the stove. Once you start stirring risotto, there’s no stopping.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Season with salt about halfway through.
  4. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice for about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat.
  5. Add the Pernod and lemon juice to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  6. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. It’s important to regulate the heat at this point. The rice should neither boil vigorously nor cook too slowly. You’re looking for an even, medium heat that gives the rice a billowy loft and brings some bubbles to the surface.
  7. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladlefuls and stirring. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that toward the end the rice really gives itself over to the liquid, releasing its starch to make a kind of cream. Stop incorporating stock once the rice is creamy but still al dente, cooked but not too soft. This can take between 20 and 30 minutes, and between 6 and 8 cups of stock.
  8. Remove the risotto from the heat, and immediately fold in the butter, mascarpone, preserved lemon rind, peas, several grinds of white pepper and most of the mint (save some for garnish). The heat of the risotto will cook the peas. Stir slowly to blend, check a final time for seasoning, and carefully fold in the asparagus. Put a lid on the risotto and let it rest while you quickly grill the shrimp. The risotto will expand slightly in volume, and take on a marvellous sheen.
  9. Grill or broil the shrimp for about 60 seconds on each side, or until the flesh is completely opaque.
  10. Top each serving of risotto with 4 shrimp, garnish with mint and a flourish of pepper, and serve.

More Great Recipes: Risotto|Asparagus|Fennel|Shrimp|Fish & Seafood

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Comments (47) Questions (0)


4 months ago ColoradoCook

I love this risotto. The flavours are so clean and bright yet comforting. My in-laws are particular on food but loved this. I don't generally keep anise liquor in the house so use white wine instead which is just fine. I do use leek instead of onion to give an extra spring-y flavour. Just lovely!


over 2 years ago Mirjam Leslie-Pringle

This looks amazing! Think i'll make this to tonight! Though i'm vegetarian, i guess i could leave out the shrimps just as well?


over 2 years ago ktchnninja

Just made this tonight, and my mind is blown! I used fresh lemon zest instead of preserved rind and also brandy instead of Pernod since that's what I had. I made more shrimp for leftovers... this will be a go-to for shrimp... over salads, pasta, grits, etc. Yum!


over 2 years ago MadeInMaine

Am I correct in assuming that the shrimp are unshelled when grilling? Seems they ought to be peeled beforehand, and served without shells....


almost 3 years ago audray

Love Pernod!! Just made it and yum it tastes amazing :) Some left for tomorrow!! Thanks!!


almost 3 years ago audray

Love Pernod!! Just made it and yum it tastes amazing :) Some left for tomorrow!! Thanks!!


almost 3 years ago audray

Love Pernod!! Just made it and yum it tastes amazing :) Some left for tomorrow!! Thanks!!


over 3 years ago Ashish Negi

Risotto with Grilled Shrimps... yum yum :)


over 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

To make this even more "springy", I substituted baby leeks for the onions. Fabulous recipe - perfect for entertaining, as long as your guests don't mind keeping you company while you stir!


over 3 years ago kitchengardener

I just made a double batch of this with enough for us and some for a friend who is sick.
I had the pernod and even the preserved lemons.
A little labor intensive but just delicious!
Spring in every bite!


over 3 years ago Laurenzim

I used JFK in NYC's idea to Blanche the asparagus in the broth and it worked perfectly!! This is an amazing recipe, and even in the dead of winter in Chicago, you can taste the spring ingredients coming together perfectly. The risotto takes alot of work, stirring and adding broth to bring to the perfect texture, but the end result is worth it!!

The only thing I would change next time, would be to leave the peas out completely. The risotto definitely doesn't cook them so to me, it takes away from the creaminess of the rice.

Great recipe!! THANKS!!


about 4 years ago JKF in NYC

You can blanche the asparagus in the chicken broth to save on the dishwashing. Great recipe, and a wonderful use of preserved lemons.


over 4 years ago Marceline

I just made this this evening. It's a little early for spring peas from this area, but I got some nice ones from Whole Foods - the same one as Food 52's new partner. By the way, the recipe calls for two cups and I hit it right. About 1.5 lbs. of those peas, shelled, will yield the desired amount

Whole Foods also had some yellowy substance in their olive bar which I figured correctly to be preserved lemon (mash). I was worried about using it because speaking as someone who likes things astringent I've found some Food 52 recipes to be too citrusy, but it was just what was missing when I tried the risotto before adding it.

While I know Pernod works well with shrimp, I was a little worried about making the risotto with Pernod instead of white wine. By itself I find Pernod unpalatable. But it gave it a really nice flavor, and color - a little paler than if I had used turmeric.

I liked the recommendation to essentially blanch the vegetables and let it mellow in a
covered pot after the risotto is done. But you may want to more than just blanch. I actually boiled the asparagus for two min. - perfect. But the peas weren't in fact "cooked" by the hot risotto. No big deal, they were delicious raw and added nice crunch, but perhaps blanching them for 30 sec. to one min. might give more of a "cooked" texture without being mushy.

The best flavor additive was my 3-year old helping me shell the peas.


over 4 years ago thundercakes

Made this last night, to great acclaim. I am always on the lookout for new ways to use preserved lemons, and this was not only a superb recipe as it stands, but suggests a thousand variations on the theme. All great recipes do!


almost 5 years ago jifferb

Made this tonight - incredible! Thank you so much for the recipe, will make it again and again!


about 5 years ago BrooklynBridget

I just have to say, this recipe just keeps on giving! Last night, used same flavor combination with green beans, kale, and pasta. So so lovely and light.


about 5 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

adapted the recipe for my vegetarian son and made it for dinner tonight, it was unbelievably delicious
used cream (I had gotten it to make Summer Corn Chowder, also highly recommended) instead of mascarpone
the preserved lemons are great in this dish


over 5 years ago Lori Hahn

Another great recipe! I've made this twice. I used Pastis in place of Pernod.


over 5 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Pastis is the generic term wheras Pernod is a specific lable. Ricard is also a brand but with a slightly difference in color.


over 5 years ago Steffanie

tried this - made a fantastic Easter dish - wonderful flavours, thank you ! Always glad to show my french in-laws how american recipes kick butt !


over 5 years ago Annelle

Yes, yes, yes!!! I thought my recipe was good--this just shows me how much better it could be! Thank you for a GREAT recipe!


over 5 years ago Culinista Annouchka

Felicitation from a fellow Montrealer! It's a perfect dish for Spring!


over 5 years ago theicp

I made a variation of this last night for dinner and loved it. Lemon, mint, green peas, and marscapone are so wonderful together. I can't wait to make it again. Congrats!


over 5 years ago Lizthechef



over 5 years ago The Dog's Breakfast

Hey, we're really happy you like the recipe. :-) The preserved lemons definitely give it a nice twist. The acidity of the lemon juice balances well with the shrimp & Pernod.


over 5 years ago The Obsessive Cook

This was wonderful! A great excuse to finally use the preserved lemons I made a month ago. For a little decoration on top I sprinkled some of the wispy leaves from the fennel on top. Worked nicely and tasted good.


over 5 years ago napamat

In making preserved lemons, I found it useful to fill a pint sized plastic bag with water, and using it to weigh down the lemons, in order to keep them submerged.


over 5 years ago BrooklynBridget

I am officially "risotto'd out" for a bit but I love these flavors. I'm going to incorporate into a pasta dish tonight. We'll see how it goes. Thanks for lovely recipe


over 5 years ago Aliwaks

Had every intention of making this this weekend but forgot to buy Pernod and shrimp, but had everything else and served it with Red Cat cookbooks boneless roasted chicken (best ever) it was lovely, definitely missed the pernod, but only because I knew it should be there, used vermouth instead and had a yellow beet which I added in. But here's the funny thing, I had a baggie of what I thought was risotto rice (bulk from whole foods) and after I poured it in the pan, I realized it was Sushi rice...and you know what, it worked, maybe not as creamy as canaroli or aborio, but perfectly fine.


over 5 years ago tucsonbabe

For those who don't have a lemon tree at hand, Middle Eastern grocery stores are a good source for inexpensive preserved lemons. A huge jar usually costs five or six dollars and it will last forever in the refrigerator.


over 5 years ago Rhonda35

Yay! I just made preserved lemons last week - because I got a good deal on a bag of lemons. Now I can make this - asparagus is in season and I just know the taste of Spring will be produced from my stovetop one night very soon. Can't wait!


over 5 years ago SaySchwartzAndBeSure

Too cool. I'm making this and a jar of perseved lemons. My Asian neighbour used to use a two gallon jar, stuffed with lemons and limes and leave it on the window ledge. I don't think it had as much liquid. Thanks for this and the perserving tip Dog's Breakfast!


over 5 years ago Skylor Powell

Yum, I LOVE the flavor of lemon. I love it even more when it is with garlic. I just made a chicken, spinach and plantain dish with garlic and meyer lemon preserves. Can't wait to try this risotto!


over 5 years ago Kelsey Banfield

This looks great, I love the flavors and the use of preserved lemons. I made my first batch this winter and now I love finding new recipes for them.


over 5 years ago Amy_N-B

This looks amazing. I'm going to do it this weekend with veggie stock and use my preserved lemons which have just reached curing time!


over 5 years ago The Dog's Breakfast

Alright, here's how to preserve lemons!

Cut 4 or 5 medium-sized lemons almost in half lengthwise, then make a second cut perpendicular to the first, exposing four "quarters" of flesh.

Sprinkle the flesh of each lemon with a generous tablespoon of kosher salt, and then stuff them into a jar just large enough to hold them. Really squish them in. Let the jar sit overnight on the counter. In the morning, if the lemons aren't covered with exuded juice, add enough fresh lemon juice to cover them.

Put a lid on the jar and put the jar in the fridge. Shake it well once a day, and after about two weeks you'll have preserved lemons.

You can add things to the lemons - coriander or fennel seeds, Old Bay spice, fresh bay leaves, etc.

Works really well with limes, too.


over 5 years ago jwalkerwrites

Sounds delicious! But I have the same question as Lizthechef - how do you preserve lemons and how long does it take? I'm sure the dish is amazing either way, but I like any opportunity to learn new cooking techniques!


over 5 years ago Annelle

This is a wonderful recipe---so well written--I can almost taste it!


over 5 years ago ENunn



over 5 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I'm down with anything that involves Pernod (or Ricard) and shrimp. Myself, I'd cook the shrimp with the heads on, but nevertheless, great recipe.


over 5 years ago NakedBeet

Rob, a friend just gave us some preserved lemons, so they'll be going in here, thank you very much.


over 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Wow, this looks gorgeous! Very similar to my favorite springtime risotto :)


over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks fabulous!


over 5 years ago The Dog's Breakfast

If you send me some of those fresh Meyer lemons, I'll preserve them for you!


over 5 years ago Lizthechef

I seem to be missing the part about how to preserve lemons. My tree is still full of Meyer lemons...Recipe, anyone? This recipe looks excellent, either with zest or preserved lemons -


over 5 years ago ChrissieLou

perfect spring dish!


over 5 years ago thirschfeld

looks really good