I was IM’ing with a friend the other night and mentioned that I was going to fix myself a dinner plate. His immediate response was: ‘Salmon and risotto?’
I guess we’ve gotten predictable. But really, with the discovery of a rice type grain that doesn’t raise John’s blood sugar and thus the return of risotto to our lives, how can we not go a little overboard on the risotto recipes?
Tonight’s rendition: Fiddlehead Ramp Risotto.
First off, ramps. A ramp, according to Wikipedia, is a wild leek. I’ve never seen ramps in the store, or even called out specifically at the farmer’s markets, but another local food blogger has talked about them and I’ve started to see them mentioned more often.
Now, fiddleheads, I’ve seen often. One of the local farmer’s market vendors (Foraged and Found) sells them regularly. They have always intrigued me with their spiral shape and tiny curls. So, a bag of fiddleheads later and we were on our way.
Ingredients: * = local, & = organic
- 1/2 cup ramps *&
- 8 oz bacon or pancetta *&
- 2 cups fiddleheads *&
- 1 tbsp oil &
- 2 ounces butter *&
- 18 oz rice (or Emmer) *&
- 1 glass white wine
- 6 cups chicken stock *&
- 2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
Wow, we did great on the local and organic ingredients this time. Only 2 ingredients didn’t make the cut.
So, we didn’t end up with ramps, but rather leeks. I fear we’ve already missed ramp season. I sliced the leek very thinly and then rocked my knife back and forth dicing the leeks finely. I then coarsely chopped the fiddleheads and parboiled them for about 3 minutes.
Next came the bacon. Cook the bacon first. Trust me on this. <grin>
Grab a large pot and a smaller saucepan. In the smaller saucepan, pour your chicken broth and warm the stock gently. If you use cold stock for the recipe, you’ll be lowering the cooking temperature of the risotto which will just prolong your process.
In the large pot, add the butter and a bit of oil. Saute the ramps, bacon, and fiddleheads for a few minutes. Add the rice or emmer.
Look! I finally got to use our new scale!
Stir the emmer to coat it in the butter and oil and then add the wine to the pot to deglaze the pan. Note: I didn’t really have any crunchy bits to deglaze.
Let most of the wine cook off and then start adding the chicken stock. Add the stock a ladle or so at a time and let the mixture simmer. When that ladle of stock is almost gone, add another ladle. If you’re using white rice, this process should take about 20 minutes. If you’re using a whole grain or emmer, the process could take up to an hour.
This was an excellent recipe. The saltiness of the bacon mixed nicely with the creamy cheese. I’d love to make this again with pancetta. I think it would be a little lighter. In addition, 2 cups of fiddleheads wasn’t enough. Next time I’ll use 3 cups.
I’m looking forward to our next risotto… we found a shrimp and samphire risotto recipe to try. Don’t know what samphire is? Stay tuned.