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Another “Surf & Turf”.
Oh yes baby! Apparently the one I told you about in my previous post wasn’t enough and on top of all that this one is even a fusion experiment.
This is not exactly a Summer recipe but I made this last week when here in Amsterdam it was practically Autumn and I was feeling cold and in need of some warm and earthy comfort food.
I had never used quinoa before besides from boiling it and dressing is with olive oil as a side dish. Since I’m experimenting with cereals - even though quinoa is technically not a cereal - that are not the usual wheat and rice I’m having fun trying recipes with ingredients that are quite new for me.
This “quinotto“, a quinoa risotto that is, is the first result of my experiments.
I can say that I’m quite satisfied with it since it tasted really nice!
The magic touch was given by using for the quinotto not the usual white wine but one of the “turfiest” Scotch whiskies on Earth, Ardbeg Ten Years Old (LUV it!). This divine liquid gives the dish such a wonderful and intense smoky flavour that just smelling it is a pleasure already. A classic Single Malt from Islay, the famous island called “the Queen of the Hebrides” with her fabulous whiskies, a place I definitely long to visit, hopefully very soon…
Then there’s the porcini stock. You can make it yourselves by simply adding some dried porcini mushrooms to a home-made vegetable stock or you can use, as I did, the organic porcini stock from Vitam, which I find excellent (but I don’t know if it exists outside Holland and Germany…). I’d say dump the standard porcini stock cubes full of glutamate that would ruin the pureness of this dish, better to add some dried to porcini to a simple basic stock.
And of course we have the wonderful texture given by the quinoa that makes everything even more interesting.
The combination between this aromatic quinotto with the sauteed veggies and a humble fish like pollock, all piled up on top of each other thanks to my latest kitchen gadget (a food ring with pusher), is really an exceptional one.
But why should I keep on telling you about something that you’d better try yourselves?
And if you like, pair it with a little Ardbeg Ten Years Old mixed with some chilled water on a stormy winter night while sitting in front of the fireplace with someone special, pretending to be in Scotland. So romantic…
Quinoa risotto with whisky, pollock and mixed vegetables
1 big carrot
1 red onion
4 Spring onions, green parts included
2 small courgettes or 1/2 a big one
200 gr quinoa
vegetable porcini stock
1/2 dl. Ardbeg 10 yrs old Whisky
200 gr. pollock fillets
e.v. olive oil
1 dl white wine
Dice the carrot and the onion and keep them separated.
Fry the onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until soft, then add the carrot cubes.
Cook the carrot until quite tenderized but still al dente and put aside.
Warm up a few spoons of olive oil in a big enough pan, without onion or anything else. Toast the quinoa in it for one minute while stirring, add some whisky, stir further and let the alcohol evaporate. After that, keep on cooking adding stock and stirring regularly.
Once the quinoa is about half cooked add some of the chopped Spring onions’ green leaves (wash them first and remove the toughest and wilted parts).
Quinoa tends to stay quite al dente. Let it dry well (if it’s too moist it cannot be pressed in shape correctly) and leave it to rest for three minutes off the flame and with the lid on the pan.
Cook the pollock in the same oil you used for the Spring onions and add the white wine. Let it evaporate and season with salt and black pepper, then break in chunks.
Grate the courgettes in the pan with the carrot and onion mixture and cook for half a minute. Remove from the flame, season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Place the ring on a hot serving plate a fill it with quinotto by a third. Level well with the pusher and cover with some vegetables (another third).
Level the veggies too and add some fish, pressing well with the pusher. Lift the ring carefully to keep everything in place. I rinsed the ring with hot water between ingredients.
Garnish with two fried Spring onions.