This somewhat eclectic dish came about when Teun and I were playing in the kitchen and decided to get some inspiration from the Plated Dishes volume of Modernist Cuisine. More and more I am getting the impression that these dishes have been designed to demonstrate complicated techniques and to look amazing, than to actually taste really great. A dish that caught our interest was “Oyster stew” with a Thai-flavored oyster consommé, salsify, avocado and tapioca pearl. Since we didn’t know where to find tapioca pearls and thought a cold consommé would be more suited for summer, we decided to make a fusion risotto instead, using the same ingredients.
It was an experiment following the success of fusion ravioli, with the white wine usually included in risotto substituted by shaoxing, the onion by galangal, ginger, scallions, chili, and lemon grass, and the risotto made creamy at the end with coconut milk.
The result looked and tasted nice, but we both thought the salsify and avocado didn’t really add anything to the dish. It was good, but not outstanding given all the work involved preparing this dish. And even though we didn’t actually make the recipe from Modernist Cuisine, we suspect that dish would have the same problem. So I’m not going to make the actual dish from Modernist cuisine and neither am I going to make this dish again, but I’m posting about it anyway as it was a nice experience that we can learn from. I did really like the idea of an oyster risotto, and I will definitely make a more straightforward Italian oyster risotto soon.
Here’s what we did…
200 grams (1 cup) risotto rice
80 ml (1/3 cup) shaoxing rice wine or sake
180 ml (3/4 cup) clam juice (recipe here)
2 lemon grass
1 bird chili
1 Tbsp sliced ginger
1 Tbsp sliced galangal
3 scallions (green onions)
extra virgin olive oil
250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
salt, to taste
freshly squeezedlime juice, to taste
4 Tbsp (clarified) butter
For the vegetable stock
2 celery stalks
1 bay leaf
3 lime leaves
Chop all the ingredients for the vegetable stock. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for an hour or pressure cook for half an hour, then sieve out the solids. Put the stock in a pot or saucepan and keep it simmering.
Heat 2 Tbsp of clarified butter in a frying pan. Add the galangal, lemon grass, ginger, scallions, and bird chilli, and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then add the rice and toast for a couple of minutes.
This was very nice with a dry Spätlese Riesling from Mosel.
Wine is often paired with food, but it can be inspiring to take a bottle of wine as the starting point and try to cook something that will go well with it. Oak barrels can give a hint of vanilla to wines, and so I thought it would be fun to make a seafood dish with a vanilla cream sauce to go with a creamy oaked chardonnay, and thus created Scallops and Shrimp with a Vanilla Sauce, Pea Puree and Parsnip Puree. It worked out really well, and the wine pairing was outstanding. The wine went well with the vanilla creaminess of the sauce as well as with the scallops and shrimp. The combination of scallops with parsnip and peas is something I’ve used successfully before. This is a nice secondo piatto for an elegant dinner party or perhaps a nice appetizer for your Christmas menu if you make a smaller portion?