It's been two weeks since I cooked my first ever risotto dish. Coming home from a few "scallop mishaps" while teaching my cooking class on Sunday, Rena asked if I could make risotto for dinner.
"Can we have risotto and scallops tonight.....? YOU make it!"
"Sure, why not?"
For one thing, I love risotto myself, especially that al dente core of each rice grain. But, what I really wanted to do was properly sautee scallops using the right ingredients, just to make up for what happened in class.
兩週前第一次煮了義式燉飯。今天在教料理課時發生了些"干貝意外"，回到家後 Rena 說今晚想吃燉飯，
"晚上可以吃 risotto 跟干貝嗎.....? 你煮!"
Cooking, a lot of times, is about improv, like stand-up comedy.
開始做高湯時，在想燉飯擺盤要怎麼弄才會好看 (擺盤能算是嗜好嗎?)，突然想到有次看到一位在羅馬的米其林星級主廚做 risotto 的照片，是用模子把飯塑成圓形, 而不是一陀擺在盤子上的做法。反正我的圓形模子也大概八百年沒用了，決定來試試這擺法。另外，我媽前陣子給了我一包乾的日本干貝，想說已經有煎的鮮干貝了，再多加些干貝應該 OK 吧? 自家料理通常都不計成本，而且泡乾干貝的水也可以替高湯增添味道。
Making risotto requires a bit of patience, because you really have to ladle stock in slowly and stir diligently, or you won't end up with the right creamy consistency. In the end, I had onion, sauteed mushrooms, dried Japanese scallops, and English aged cheddar cheese in the risotto. A bit of departure from classics, but I think it worked well.
料理燉飯還蠻需要耐心的，因為高湯必須慢慢地加入鍋裡，然後不停地攪拌讓義大利米的澱粉釋放，才會最後有很濃稠的外表跟口感。今晚的燉飯裡有洋蔥、煎白姬菇、瑤柱、英國 cheddar 乳酪。沒有很遵循傳統，但覺得這樣的中西組合還不錯。
Seared scallops are really simple to make - pat dry scallops thoroughly, remove "foot", season with sea salt and white pepper, heat stainless pan with grape seed oil till super hot, sautee 1 minute on one side and 30 seconds on the other and get them out of the frying pan as soon as humanly possible.
For plating, I molded the risotto, placed scallops on top, and added some chopped tomatoes as garnish. I happened to have a bottle of basil oil from class, so that was squeezed around the risotto. Right when I thought I was done, I remember Serena's mother gave me a small bottle of truffle oil! Mrs. Hsu gave me all these imported expensive Italian ingredients and asked if I could cook them and take pictures of the dishes. What a rough request, right? Anyway, the ring of truffle oil on the plate was the final touch to the dish.
我把燉飯用圓形模子擺好後，上面放了三顆干貝，然後再加上少許的碎番茄點綴。中午教學時剛好有一瓶羅勒油，就在飯的周圍擠了一圈。就在覺得已經完成時，記得 Serena 的媽媽送了我一瓶義大利進口的松露油，徐媽送了我一些義大利的食材，說只要我煮好拍照片給他就好了，真是好康啊! 最後當然就在盤子的外圍滴了一圈的松露油來做 finish。
We ate the Italian flag that night.
Scallops and truffle oil really match perfectly. Risotto has so many variations so I don't think I'll run out of risotto ideas any time soon...risotto with pesto...saffron... We'll see what I feel like next time. I wonder what would happen if I use Asian short-grain rice to make risotto - might have to give that a try later.