Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring Risotto & Baked Flounder with Wine & Herbs

Yay! Spring Risotto and Baked Flounder! Can you get more yummy? The simple answer is, "No!"

So, there are two dishes behind the cut and both are easy and delicious. Try 'em, you'll like 'em!

The risotto was a featured recipe in Cuisine at Home, which is a really great magazine that my friend Pat has given to me as a Christmas gift for several years. The recipe is not posted online, so I will give it to you.

Cuisine at Home Spring Risotto:
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, diced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 Tbs shallots (I didn't have shallots, so I used green onions)
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups chicken stock, hot
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 tsp fresh tarragon (I omitted this/not a tarragon fan)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded

So, here is a photo of the ingredients for the risotto:

Baked Flounder is really simple...and it is a baking recipe for fish that I have used for years. You can use any firm white meat fish for this method.

In a baking dish, place:
  • Several sprigs of fresh parsley
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Several cloves of crushed garlic
  • Several bay leaves
  • Fill the baking dish to the top of the herbs with dry vermouth

Place the fish on top of the herbs, sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and drizzle on some olive oil.

Cover with foil and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. It will cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the fish is opaque. The thickness of the fish you choose will cause a variation in the cooking time.

Just prepare the fish in the dish, and I'll tell you when to pop it in the oven.

Chop the asparagus, prosciutto, scallions and garlic:

Put one tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet and brown the prosciutto. Remove it from the skillet and set is aside when it looks like this:

Add the asparagus to the skillet and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove it from the skillet and set it aside when it looks like this:

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, scallions (or shallots) and garlic to the skillet and saute until translucent:

Heat your chicken stock:

Have your wine, peas and chopped spinach ready:

To the skillet with the onions and garlic, add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with the oil. Add the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed into the rice, about 2-3 minutes:

Put your fish in the oven now, because the risotto recipe should be finished about the same time.

You are going to start adding the hot stock in 1 cups batches to the risotto and stir it with a wooden spoon until it is nearly absorbed:

Side note: The wooden spoon pictured above was a gift from Pat's daughter, Amy. I just love hand carved wooden spoons! That is one of my all time favorites...thanks, Amy.

The process of adding the stock and stirring takes about 20-25 minutes and you can see what happens to the is plumping up and getting creamy:

Heat the bowl you are going to mix the risotto in and add the spinach. Putting the spinach in a hot bowl will help wilt the spinach.

Remove the completed risotto to a bowl and add the asparagus, peas and parmesan cheese (I used parmigiano reggiano, of course.) Stir to mix.

Pull the flounder out of the oven and squeeze on some fresh lemon. Both dishes look like this:

Now, just plate them both, sprinkle some of the crisped prosciutto onto the risotto and add a fresh parsley sprig:

So delicious! Join me as I dine...


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