We went fishing the other day and only got one whiting so I put it in the freezer. A couple of nights ago I was looking for an easy dinner option and found the whiting and I also had a bag of scallops in the freezer. I went with a risotto. I love risotto for many reasons. One its nice and it also gives a way to use up small amounts of ingredients. this one I chopped the whiting fillet up with most of the scallop meat and added to the risotto with the last cup of stock, just enough to allow it to cook through. I also put frozen peas, corn kernels and fine diced carrot in the risotto, as well as the obligatory onion when tempering the rice. I topped it off with a pair of seared scallops and a drizzle of avocado oil. The secret to a good risotto is cooking the rice right, resting and leaving it a little bit wet, most places I’ve had it cook it too dry, try it a little creamy stock broth around the base of the rice, it makes it belissimo.
As un-appetising as this dish looks it was excellent. The meat is my crispy skin duck breast which was at its blushing best and despite looking like something a dog threw up the risotto tasted great. It is Porcini mushroom risotto. It was just bordering on being to strong in flavour (Porcini are very strong flavoured and less is more). For those not familiar with them porcini have a vegemite/marmite/earthy taste and may be an acquired taste.
I guess a lot of people’s experience with Risotto may well have been the same as my early exposure to it. Rice Risotto out of sachet or perhaps RiceRiso. When mum would make rice risotto I would not be impressed. Over time I have come to love risotto and have had some good ones on occasion from a restaurant or two but homemade is just the best. The one here is a favourite, it is Banana Prawn and Shiitake Mushroom, of course any good risotto should have frozen green peas. I use the water from soaking the dried shiitake to cook the risotto as well as stock from the roasted prawn shells. The secret is take your time, add just a cup of liquids at a time and reduce almost fully before adding more, season lightly until fully reduced as ingredients give saltiness, finish with a nice big spoon of real butter once off the heat and stand for min 5minutes covered before serving. Grated parmesan such as grana padana or similar is excellent on top.
This is a request from my nephew Jake, 25 and he’s never eaten duck. We eat a fair bit of duck, its a little expensive but no more so than most premium cuts of meat. Treated properly there is nothing better than a good duck breast. A lot of people over cook it thinking its like chicken but duck can be and should be eaten fairly rare, medium at best. Sometimes I will buy the whole duck but usually only when they are on special, there is a lot of waste in a whole duck unless you make your own stocks etc or duck soup. Generally the breasts are about $10 – $12 for two, bear in mind that would cost you $35 – $55 a plate in a restaurant so they are still good value for what they are. For crispy skinned duck breast just place the raw breasts skin side down in a COLD pan and bring to a sizzling fry. Once skin is golden and crispy ( 5-7)mins depending on size and heat, turn and seal underside for two minutes and then place in a pre-heated oven (180c) for a further 6-7 minutes (for medium), rest for 4 minutes before slicing. I often make Peking duck pancakes they are addictive, place sliced duck breast in a mandarin pancake add sticks of shallot, cucumber, pear or what ever takes your fancy. (peking duck refers to the marinade you cook the duck with) As in the main pic where I have used red current jelly I also often use that in the pancakes. Roll it all up and stuff face till you can’t move anymore. If I buy a whole duck one of my favourite things to do with left overs is make a Duck risotto, frozen green peas, some chantrelles or cepe mushroom if available where you live or enoki etc if not available. Make Stock with duck carcass after picking remaining meat off (you can use a roasted frame for this also) and use this to make your risotto. So there you go Jacob try some of these ideas and I bet rowing down the Avon takes on a whole new purpose.