Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Misses Turned to Hits

Cream of Mushroom Risotto

The original goal of this recipe was to make a mushroom risotto to satisfy my son who loves mushroom flavor but hates mushroom texture. In rather typical seven-year-old fashion, when he heard what was for supper, he pronounced -- rather vitriolically -- that he no longer likes risotto of any sort, then when he was forced to eat a small amount was surprisingly quiet and a few minutes later casually picked up his plate and said he was going back to the kitchen to serve himself a little more. He may have totally unreasonable ideas about what he likes and what he doesn’t, but he has good taste!

Serves 4-6

3 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teas. salt, plus more to taste
3-4 cups stock
1 cup milk
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 ½ bunches chard, stems removed, and chopped
Pepper to taste

Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium saucepan. Saute the onion until it becomes soft, about 5 minutes. Smash the garlic clove and add it. Saute another 3 minutes. Add the crimini mushrooms and ½ tsp. salt and saute another 10 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups stock and simmer 10 minutes. Blend, using an immersion blender or a regular blender. Add milk. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil in a medium frying pan and saute the shiitake mushrooms until very soft, 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large pot. Toast the rice for 1-2 minutes, coating well with olive oil. Add the blended mushroom mix ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly. Then add the remaining stock 1 cup at a time. After each addition of stock, stir until the liquid is absorbed, then add the next cup and repeat. When the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender all the way through (taste to determine doneness), stir in the chard and shiitake mushrooms. Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed (amount depends on saltiness of stock and on personal preference). Stir for another 3-5 minutes, until the chard is completely cooked. Serve immediately.

Small Fish

I read recently in Martha Stewart Living that small fish are the best: high in all the fish oils, sustainable, and low in mercury and other bad stuff. So I vowed to eat more small fish. Once or twice I’ve gotten fresh sardines or anchovies from New Deal Fish Market and sautéed them up to delicious results. But when I got there this past Saturday, the smallest fish they had was whiting – about 5 inches long and two inches thick. Oh well. But I guess this whole meal is misses turned hits. The pan-fried whiting was delicious, and the fact that you can’t eat the bones like you can with smaller fish is more than made up for by the fact that you can pull them right out (and look at them - cool!), and that the flesh is not at all fishy like sardines or anchovies but light and flakey like butterfish or cod.

Serves 4-6 (adults will eat 2 fish each, kids 1)

1 long or 2-3 small stem each: mint, rosemary, sage, thyme

½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

½ cup white flour
10 small whiting fish
1 T olive oil

Finely chop the herbs. In a pie pan, mix together the flour, herbs, salt and pepper. Roll the fish in the mixture to coat. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Lay the fish flat in the pan (if you have too many for one pan, use two pans or cook in two batches). Cook without touching for 5-7 minutes. Turn once and cook 5-7 minutes longer on the other side. You can tell that the fish is done when the flesh turns an opaque white. Serve immediately.