Friday, 6 August 2010

fruits of the sea & roasted fennel risotto

I used Jamie Oliver's Basic Risotto Recipe, from The Naked Chef a base for this risotto.  I then added mussels, prawns, squid and some fennel that I roasted in the oven. 

Serves 6 

Approx. 1 litre/2 pints stock (chicken, fish or vegetable)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 finely chopped shallots or 2 medium onions
1/2 head of celery, finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
400g risotto rice
100ml dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly prat) or dry white wine
70g of butter
85-100g freshly grated parmesan cheese

Stage 1.  Heat the stock. Then in a separate pan heat the olive oil, add the shallot or onion, celery and a pinch of salt, and sweat the vegetables for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and after another 2 minutes, when the vegetables have softened, add the rice.  Turn up the heat now.  At this crucial point you can't leave the pan, and anyway, this is the best bit.
While slowly stirring, continuously, your are beginning to fry the rice.  You don't want any colour at any point (so remember, your in control, and if the temperature seems to high, turn it down a bit). You must keep the rice moving.  After 2 or 3 minutes it will begin to look translucent as it absorbs all the flavors of your base (it may crackle at this point, but that's fine).  Add the vermouth or wine, keeping on stirring as it hits the pan - it will smell fantastic!  It will sizzle around the rice, evaporating any harsh alcohol flavors and leaving the rice with a tasty essence.
I must admit that I'm a sucker for dry vermouth.  When it cooks into the rice it seems to give it a really full but subtle flavor and leaves a wicked sweetness that works perfectly with the rice.  White wine is lovely, probably more delicate and fresh.  Try both - see what you think.

Stage 2.  Once the vermouth or wine seems to have cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt (add small amounts of salt to taste while you are adding the stock).  Turn down the heat to a highish simmer (the reason we don't want to boil the the hell out of it is because, if we do, the outside of the rice will be cooked and fluffy and the inside will be raw).  Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.  This will take about 15 minutes.  Taste the rice - is it cooked?  Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite.  Check seasoning.

Stage 3.  Remove from the heat and add the butter and the parmesan, saving a little of the latter to go on top if you like.  Stir gently.  Eat as soon as possible while it remains moist in texture.
Serve on its own or with a crisp green salad and a hunk of bread.  Beautiful.

I cooked the mussels, prawn and squid off in a pan with a little butter and added them in at the end along with the fennel, which I had roasted with a little butter in the oven for 15 minutes previously.

No comments:

Post a Comment