Friday, January 9, 2009

There Must Be Something in the Air

Risotto. This dish seems to be rather ubiquitous at the moment. It had been a few years since I'd last made risotto, which is to say that some brushing up on the subject was necessary. I had already been thinking about risotto, when the most recent issue of Food & Wine showed up featuring a small column on 'Perfecting Risotto'. The recipe included was for Milanese style risotto, which is flavored and colored with saffron. The day I decided that I would try and get risotto down by the end of this month, risotto posts and articles were popping up everywhere.

I decided that I would use the Milanese recipe as a base for duck confit risotto. I had some friends coming over for dinner, and thought this would be a perfect meal served with a simple salad, picked fresh from my garden. I unearthed a leg and thigh from their protective duck fat layer, wiped off the excess fat, and stuck these well preserved animal parts into a hot oven on my roasting rack. I wanted the skin to get nice and crispy, and it didn't disappoint. 

Risotto is a dish that has to be done right, or else it's just some rice dish. It is very easy to overcook risotto, resulting in mushy, dense failure. I like to avoid failing most of the time, and would really like to get the basics down for this delicious dish. I put my patience hat on, and got to work. All of the ingredients, except for the parsley, which I grew, I purchased at Wheatsville, and a few were local, like the duck, butter, and the wine. The results were great, and the only critique I have, would be to use homemade stock rather than store bought. I didn't have any chicken stock on hand so I went with the Pacific brand chicken broth, which was an okay substitute, but I know that homemade stock would make this better. 

Return of the poorly lit kitchen pics.

I was really excited to get to use some of the duck confit. It tasted amazing, and the texture was sublime; supple, rich, and unctuous. The well crisped skin made a delicious garnish, and overall the dish was well received. After a few more attempts with this base recipe, I will share it, but for now, I'll share a nice vinaigrette recipe of my own. It is beautifully green, and healthful. 

Hemp Vinaigrette
scales up easily

1 Tbsp hemp oil
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp finely minced garlic
1/4 tsp finely minced shallots
Salt and white pepper to taste

Combine oils and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, add all other ingredients but the salt and pepper, mix. Slowly drizzle in the oil mixture, whisking to form the emulsion. Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste. 


Iris said...

I want to try your vinaigrette tonight! I don't have champagne vinegar right now: would sherry or golden balsamic or white wine vinegars substitute okay?

Laurie said...

I like making risotto. I pretend Gordon Ramsey is hollering at me as I stir it. It's therapeutic.

wvb - "disms" - another word for insults, as in "Ramsey flung disms like a vindictive middle school dodgeball captain."

I think this may've become part of my vocabulary.

Flapjacks said...

yes, any vinegar would do, that's just the one that i have a taste for at the moment. the white wine vinegar is a perfect substitution.

i can hear it now, "this ris-sot-oh is shite. it tastes like fucking dawg food. for fuck's sake!" as the plate is flipped to floors. that fucker has his disms down pat.

PassivePastry said...

it's ok to admit it... you were totally inspired by me. ;)

the guy who made me my risotto broke up with me, ummmm... technically today. but i'm still convinced it will be my food of 2009!
sunny side, i say.

PS- i saw you walking out of wheatesville, on guadalupe and it took all of my will power not to make animal noises out my car window at you.
watch out.

Flapjacks said...

it's like that, huh? animal noises. good to know i inspire; i do what i can.

TexasDeb said...

OK I have no hemp oil and have never tasted any hemp oil. Give me some heads up as to if/why I should buy a new oil to make dressing with please?

I promise I will - won't? - make animal noises at you out of a car in return. Your choice.

wvb: pennuar, needlessly frugal, as in "She would have tried the dressing recipe but was too pennuar to buy a new oil without some encouragement."

Flapjacks said...

Hemp oil isn't cheap either, so your apprehension is okay. Hemp oil is good for you, very good. Plenty of good fat, and other shit. That's a technical term. It has a very nutty, rich flavor, and is dark, dark, dark green. I use it in dressings often. You cannot use it to cook with, so cold applications are the best.

In the end, it's your choice.

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