Friday, 21 March 2014

Black rice Venere with coconut oil and shrimps

Black Venere is a prized wholegrain rice which is extraordinary from many perspectives. The first thing you notice, of course, is its remarkable deep purple, almost black color. This is totally natural and comes from its ebony external layer. Black Venere rice originates from china where, up until the 18th century, it was cultivated exclusively for the Emperor and his Court. Named after the Goddess of Love, it was considered to be a potent aphrodisiac and legend has it that is precisely why only the Emperor and his entourage could enjoy it! It was named “the Forbidden Rice”. The rice is rich in essential amino acids, fiber, phosphorous and Vitamin B5 and full of minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and selenium. But its most significant property is its extremely high content of anthocyanins which capture free radicals and prevent oxidation. Riso Venere has a mild nutty flavor with a hint of sandalwood and its aroma of freshly baked bread becomes more discernible as it cooks. It is ideal for rice salads, soups, as a side for white meats, but reaches its pinnacle with seafood.
This take on Venere rice takes inspiration from the Far East. The marriage of coconut oil, coriander, lime and black rice comes natural and easy. It can be meant as a romantic starter ( sharing shrimps is a tasty ice-breaker )or as a light and elegant first course. Just few suggestions: make sure that shrimps and coconut oil come from sustainable sources. The shrimps which work the best are wild shrimps frozen on board: they retain all their qualities and aroma.

The black rice Venere i prefer is grown under the supervision of Gabriele Ferron, who knows all there is to know about rice, from growing it to cooking it.


120 gr. Black rice Venere

2/3 shrimps from sustainable sources

20 ml. bio coconut oil

2 cardamom pods

1 shallot

10 gr. coriander

1 bio lime

5 cl. Cognac or Brandy

10 gr. Butter

5 gr. parsley


    Start off by cleaning the shrimps, remove the heads and then peel and devein them.
2. In a saucepan melt half of the butter, add, finely chopped, one and a half shallot, gently fry until tender. Add the heads and the shells of the shrimps, stir for two minutes then sprinkle with the cognac and let evaporate the alcohol. Add the finely chopped parsley and, after a minute, cover with hot water and let simmer for about an hour, removing every 10/15 minutes the foam that comes on the surface. Filter and set aside.
3. In a large casserole bring to boil salted water with 8 cardamom pods. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes then remove the cardamom.
4. Toss the black rice in the boiling water and let boil for about 40/41 minutes.
5. In the meantime, in a frying pan, put one third of the coconut oil and the finely chopped shallot, stir fry until soft then add the shrimp tails and cook for about 3 minutes, add two spoons of shrimps stock in the last minute. Set aside.
6. For each portion of rice chop in small cubes one shrimp tail
7. In a frying pan add the rest of the shrimp stock and reduce it, finishing with the rest of the butter and stirring to make a dense sauce.
8. Drain the black rice and put it in a large metal bowl, add the rest of the coconut oil, some chopped coriander, few drops of lime juice and the chopped shrimps and stir to coat thoroughly. Cover and let rest for two minutes.
9. Using a pastry ring place the rice on a plate, creating a disk. Place on top the two shrimp tails left. Add some coriander, lime zest and finish with the shrimp stock reduction.

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