Cockle and seaweed risotto

Cockle and seaweed risotto

Everyday Seafood

This risotto is versatile. I love the pairing of cockles and seaweed, but you could use any seafood in place of the cockles, or even a mixture of seafood if you wish. Similarly, any good seaweed will work, even crushed nori sheets that you buy for sushi – it just needs to be dehydrated and blitzed, to tenderise in the risotto. Adding the hot stock little by little and stirring continuously helps to release the starch from the rice grains, giving you that wonderful, creamy end result. Have all the ingredients prepared before you start, so you can concentrate on the stirring.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg live cockles
150g granary or sourdough bread, crusts removed and torn into pieces
50ml light olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 litre see method for ingredients
or 1 litre see method for ingredients
50g unsalted butter
1 large white onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved (germ removed) and finely chopped
240g carnaroli risotto rice
50ml white wine vinegar
100ml dry white wine
2 tablespoons dried seaweed flakes
1 teaspoon dried seaweed flakes, to garnish
100g parmesan, freshly grated
8 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
a handful tarragon, leaves picked and chopped
a handful dill, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 lime, zest grated
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Put the pieces of bread on an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden and crispy.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan over a low heat and keep it at a steady simmer.
  3. Place another large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter starts to bubble, add the onion, fennel and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Tip the crisp bread pieces onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain; set aside.
  5. Pour the wine vinegar and wine into the rice pan and cook, stirring, until reduced right down to almost nothing, about 3 minutes. Add the 2 tbsp dried seaweed. Now add the stock, a ladleful at a time and cook, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon, for 12 minutes. Allow each ladleful of stock to be fully absorbed before you add the next.
  6. Next add the cockles along with another ladleful of stock and cook for 2 minutes, or until the cockles start to open. Immediately add the grated parmesan, spring onions and chopped herbs and turn off the heat.
  7. Give the risotto a careful stir and share between 4 warmed plates. Scatter over the crisp bread pieces and lime zest, and finish with a sprinkling of seaweed. Serve immediately.
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