Make use of fresh, seasonal ingredients this spring with Philippa Davis' crab, saffron and sorrel risotto

Spring greens, crab and sorrel are just some of the fresh, new ingredients worth seeking out now spring is here. And they should certainly feature on your Easter menu. Try Philippa Davis’ crab, saffron and sorrel risotto. This starter is guaranteed to impress your guests.

If you still wish to dine on a suitably spring-y starter but the temperatures refuse to lift, try warm pigeon breast salad and spring onions. Light enough for the new season but still comforting for nippy days, it makes a fantastic starter. Or divvy up into bite-sized portions as dinner party canapés.


If you picked your own crab use the shells to make stock; if not, use shell-on prawns to give flavour.

Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 crab shells or 200g shell-on prawns
  • 1 white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 sticks celery, washed and  chopped
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1.5 litres cold water


  • 80g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled  and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, washed and chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 1 tbsp vermouth
  • 50ml dry white wine
  • Pinch of saffron mixed with 40ml of just-boiled water
  • 200g white crab meat
  • 100g brown crab meat
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 12 leaves of sorrel (or baby spinach), washed and finely chopped

To make the stock, sauté the crab shells or prawns for a couple of minutes in the oil then add the rest of the stock ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid into a pan and keep hot.

In another saucepan, gently sauté the chopped onion and celery in the butter and olive oil until soft but not coloured.

Add the rice, stir well then pour in the vermouth and wine. Season.

Add the hot stock about 50ml at a time, stirring well after each addition. Keep adding until the rice is just cooked then stir through the saffron with its water, the crab and lemon juice.

Check seasoning and serve sprinkled with finely sliced sorrel and lemon zest.