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Chef Alex Chen’s Risotto

Risotto with Pine Mushrooms, Green Sea Urchin and Geoduck Clam

Serves 2

THE FOOD AT WILD BLUE IS INSPIRED BY THE COAST AND IS VERY PRODUCT FOCUSED. We feel that the best ingredients shine best as they are, undisguised. In this dish, that means lightly seasoned, barely cooked, and presented in a harmonious balance. It brings together Italy’s best risotto rice with the king of all clams, the finest pine mushrooms and sweet green sea urchin – all from B.C. The dish is simple and elegant and – most important – delicious.

Alex Chen

Chef, Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar

Whistler, B.C.


  • 1 large geoduck clam — about 1 kg (2 lb) — scrubbed, blanched, peeled and shelled


  • 150 g (6 oz) chopped geoduck (belly and siphon)
  • 150 g (6 oz) imperfect pine mushrooms, sliced
  • 150 g (3 large) shallots, minced
  • 1 small leek, split lengthwise
  • 3 g (1 slice) ginger
  • 10 g (1 large piece) kombu or other dried kelp
  • 3 g (½ tsp) salt
  • 60 g (¼ cup) sake


  • 30 g (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 40 g (1 medium) top-quality pine mushroom, sliced into 4 pieces
  • salt, pepper
  • 100 g (½ cup) Acquerello (or other top-quality) carnaroli rice
  • 20 g (3 tbsp) minced shallot
  • 40 g (¼ cup) diced pine mushrooms
  • 130 g (½ cup) dry vermouth
  • 70 g (2½ oz) geoduck belly, diced
  • 40 g (3 tbsp) cultured butter
  • 35 g (3 tbsp) crème fraîche
  • 5 g (1 tbsp) minced chives
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice
  • 70 g (2½ oz) sliced geoduck siphon
  • 10 lobes of fresh green (or other top-quality) sea urchin
  • 5 g (1 tsp) fine olive oil
  • 10 chives
  • flaky sea salt


Pull the stomach from the clam and discard. Partially split siphon and clean the inside under running water. Separate belly from siphon, dice it and set aside about 70 g (2½ oz) for the risotto. Reserve balance for the stock. Slice about 70 g (2½ oz) of the siphon and set aside for the risotto. Dice balance and reserve for the stock.

To make the stock, combine geoduck, mushrooms, shallots, leek, ginger, kelp and salt with sake and 1.5 L (6 cups) water in a Dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Skim impurities from surface as necessary. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and set aside.

Heat half the olive oil in a skillet on medium high. Sear the sliced mushroom for 30 seconds on each side. Transfer to a plate and season. Set aside. Transfer 600 g (2½ cups) of geoduck stock to a saucepan and bring to a bare simmer on low. Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan on medium; add the rice, shallot and diced mushrooms, and sweat, stirring continuously, until rice is lightly toasted and the vegetables wilted – about 5 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Add vermouth and stir until liquid reduces to a syrup. Add one-fourth of the stock and a little salt and pepper and cook, stirring regularly until liquid reduces to a syrup again. Repeat process three more times until mixture gets creamy and the rice is cooked but still al dente – about 20 minutes total. Add the chopped geoduck belly and stir again. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, creme fraiche and minced chives. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer risotto to a warm platter. Garnish with reserved seared mushroom, sliced raw geoduck, sea urchin and chives. Finish with fine olive oil and sea salt.

Photos by Leila Kwok