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Posts Tagged ‘Parmigiano-Reggiano’

The quince is like an ugly dog. Not the most beautiful of fruit, and sometimes you’re just not sure what to make of them. But, in the end, after a little warmth and love, they inevitably win your heart over.

Another ancient fruit, the quince has been cultivated since the time of Aphrodite. Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Cotan all painted their ode to the distorted beauty of the quince. Gentle still life’s that capture the stoicism of the sitting green pome.

Inedible until cooked, quince has a tartness that is best served mingled with other flavors. I simmered chunks of quince in port wine laced with honey, rosemary, and freshly squeezed lemon. Served on top of lightly fried polenta, drizzled with a port reduction and Parmigiano Reggiano, a quick broil and a dash of coarse sea salt make these an intriguing and tasty appetizer.
The recipe took a little longer to put together than expected (I have a habit of not reading recipes all the way through before embarking), as the port and quince needs to simmer for 45 minutes. But Sunday morning smelled wonderfully porty in our house and, well, no one complained.

Cheers!

 

I adapted this recipe from one found on the  Cooking Light website. I was looking for an interesting use of quince that was more savory than sweet and found their Polenta with Port-Poached Quince & Blue Cheese inspiring. Next time I think I’ll add chopped prosciutto or pancetta to add a little protein and depth.

Port and Quince Polenta Bruschetta

What you’ll need:

3-4 lemons, freshly squeezed to about 3/4-1 cup

1+ cup tawny port

1/4 raw honey

1 or 2 rosemary sprigs

1-2 cups cubed quince. Cored and peeled. About 2 quinces.

Olive oil

1 16 oz tube of polenta cut in 1/2-inch slices

Salt and pepper to taste

Shaved reggiano

In a medium saucepan bring lemon juice, port, honey and rosemary sprigs to a boil. Add quince and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, or until quince is tender.

Remove pan from heat and let cool. Strain and reserve quince, discarding rosemary. Return liquid to the pan, bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until sauce is reduced to about 1/2 a cup.

Preheat your broiler.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium. Place polenta slices in a single layer, sprinkle with fresh black pepper and cook for 8 minutes on each side. Place rounds on baking sheet and spoon about a tablespoon of cooked quince on polenta. I found it easier to use my hands instead of a spoon to place quince on polenta rounds. Shave desired amount of parmesan on quince and broil for about 2 minutes. You want your cheese to be golden and bubbly. Place bruschetta on a plate or platter, drizzle with reduced port, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and serve warm.

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Nothing says autumn in the Pacific Northwest than chanterelle mushrooms. All over the state mushroom gatherers are hiking and harvesting in a crazed hippie state that only wild mushrooms can induce. No, not those mushrooms…although I bet some of that goes on as well.

Apparently, the chanterelle is Oregon’s state mushroom. They grow so well here that you can go back to the same spot over and over again and leave with an abundant harvest in your arms.

I, on the other hand, picked my mushrooms up at the store. I’m sure chanterelles are easy to find and harvest, but I don’t know enough about wild mushrooms to trust myself not to pick the wrong ones. So I’ll leave the hunting and gathering to the mycologist and the hippies and trust that when I buy a basket of chanterelles in the store I will be enjoying a yummy dinner of delicate buttery mushrooms, and not watching my face melt in the mirror.

I decided to use short-grain brown rice for my chanterelle risotto recipe. Every recipe I read online said it would take about 25 minutes to cook. Wrong. It took about an hour of stirring and adding broth and water to get the grain to a firm but tender state. And I need to be honest with you, I lost count. The liquid measurement in the recipe below is just an approximation. I apologize.

In the end, the earthiness from the brown rice complimented the earthiness of the mushrooms, and it was definitely worth it.  However, I think white rice will work just as well with the chanterelles if that’s what you choose to cook with.

I served the risotto with lamb chops we happened to have in the freezer. Ok, “happened” is not the right word for that. Whole Foods was having a sale on amazingly delicate and tender Icelandic lamb chops and Adam went a little crazy and stocked up. If you can find Icelandic lamb I highly recommend you buy some. The flavor is so soft and mild; it lacks the gaminess (which I love, by the way) that you get from other lamb. My guess is that the sheep are fairly young when they are slaughtered. It could also have something to do with the terrain they live in and what the feed on. If that paints a better picture in your mind than baby sheep going to the slaughter, then I’m all for it.

The recipe is adapted from Saveur’s website. If you don’t read Saveur then you are missing out on one of the more culturally interesting food magazines. Magazine is probably not the right word; it’s more of a cultural food and travel journal. Every time I read it I get itchy feet and dream of Morocco, or Spain, or…

Cheers!

Chanterelle Risotto

What you’ll need:

32 oz+ chicken stock

8 oz dry white wine

8 oz+ water

4 tablespoons butter

2 shallot cloves, minced

4 cups chanterelles, washed and sliced

1 cup short-grain brown rice, or white

1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour chicken stock into a small saucepan and bring to a steady simmer. After it has begun to simmer add white wine and allow the broth to return to a gentle simmer. Add water to stock as needed.

In a medium pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for about a minute. Add chanterelles and sauté for about 5 minutes until they are soft and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place mushrooms and shallots in a small bowl.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons in the same pot and add rice. Stir rice constantly for about 3 minutes, until rice is lightly toasted. Stir in 1 cup of warmed broth stirring frequently until stock is almost absorbed completely. Continue adding stock, about 1/2 cup at a time stirring frequently. You want your rice to be al dente, tender but firm. This took about an hour to accomplish, but it may take less time depending on the type of rice you choose to use.

Add chanterelles just before you add the last 1/2 cup of stock. Stir in parmesan and serve immediately.

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