And Now For Something Completely DifferentPosted: May 19, 2011
Hold on to your hats, kids. I’ve branched out with this one. There’s still an egg in it, but it’s definitely in a supporting role. Or, maybe it’s more like a cameo? But a classy one. Like that A-lister who has a small but significant part in some quaint art-house flick. The kind where you leave the theater with a slightly more favorable impression of them and think “wow, maybe this chick/dude can do more than just crappy blockbusters?”
Or … it’s nothing like that and just an excuse for me to make something new. Either way, this is one tasty springtime dish. It combines the creamy goodness of risotto with the distinctive flavor of asparagus — cooked in two different ways. And yes, there’s a nice poached egg for added flavor and texture. Give it a try!
Asparagus Risotto with Poached Eggs
– 1 bunch of asparagus
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
– 3 tablespoons of butter
– ½ of a yellow onion, diced
– 1 clove of garlic, minced
– 6 cups of low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) stock
– 2 cups of Arborio rice
– 1 cup of dry white wine
– ¾ cup of grated Parmesan
– 2 tablespoons of vinegar
– 6 eggs (or 1 per person)
– Salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 400º F.
Fill a large bowl with ice water and bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil. Add half of the asparagus and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, or until bright green. Immediately plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Transfer the blanched asparagus to a blender and puree for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Set aside.
Toss the remaining asparagus with olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fork tender.
Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and slowly cook until the onions are translucent, for about 10 minutes. In a separate pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Once the onions are translucent, add the Arborio rice to the onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until the wine has been completely absorbed by the rice.
Then, begin to add the hot stock to the rice one or two ladles at a time. Don’t add any more stock until the last addition has been totally absorbed by the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until all the stock has been added and the rice is creamy — but still has a slight bite to it. Stir in the Parmesan (save a little for garnish at the end) and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Fill another pot 3/4 of the way with water, add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Crack the eggs into small ramekins. When the pot is really bubbling, give it a good stir and slide the eggs (one at a time) into the middle of the swirling water. Cook each egg for about 3 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Carefully remove the eggs.
Right before serving, mix the asparagus puree into the risotto. Spoon into bowls and gently arrange a poached egg and some of the roasted asparagus on top. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and pepper. Then serve and eat.
I particularly loved the roasted asparagus on top. The poached egg makes for a nice presentation, and the runny yolk blends really well with the cheesy, creamy risotto.
But the most surprisingly thing, for me, is that I never thought I’d make a dish like this. Labor-intensive risotto? Made with asparagus — a vegetable that up until a few years ago I hated? Why would I ever make this??
Well, for starters, it wasn’t that difficult. If you’ve never made risotto before, know that it does take time for the Arborio rice to soak up the stock. But really, no more time than what’s required for a hearty soup or a roast. As for asparagus, it’s now one of the major green veggies in my life, along with broccoli, spinach and green beans. I’m not sure how that happened with any of them, but it has. I’m probably better off for it.
If you have a dish with a unexpected cameo by an egg, I’d love to know! Maybe I’ll make it.