In the restaurant recipes section, there’s a Warm White Asparagus Salad with Poached Egg Dressing dish that looks like spring itself. I might try it with just one of the three accompanying sauces. Then, there’s the Hazelnut-Crusted Maine Sea Scallops with Nettles and Swiss Chard that’s gorgeous with the nettle foam and sauteed morels. And, there are parts of every dessert that I really want to attempt like Sauternes-Rhubarb Ice Cream, Apricot and Lavendar Clafoutis, and Coffee Cremeux and Espresso Ganache. So far, I’ve made two parts of the Striped Bass in a Cilantro-Tapioca Pistou with Artichokes and Lemon Croquettes. In the book, a shallow bowl is shown with the tapioca sauce in the bottom with a pretty mix of chopped artichokes and fava beans centered in the sauce, a piece of striped bass perfectly coated with cilantro pistou sits on the vegetables, and lemon risotto croquettes are perched on top with a tangle of micro cilantro and shaved artichoke slices. The risotto croquettes are perfect, and I do mean perfect, little, crispy cubes. They looked like fun to make. To start, a pretty standard risotto was made with onion cooked in melted butter. Arborio rice was added, and warmed chicken stock was ladled in a little at a time in the usual fashion. When the rice was fully cooked, shredded parmesan, a tablespoon of mascarpone, lemon zest, and lemon juice were added. It was tasted for seasoning and adjusted before the risotto was poured into a parchment-lined 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan and left to chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, the risotto was unmolded and cut into one-inch cubes. The cubes were dusted with cornstarch and fried until crispy. The cilantro pistou was easy to make by pureeing lots of cilantro which is filling my herb garden right now with a couple of tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, some olive oil, and salt.
I served the crispy, lemony croquettes with a dish of cilantro pistou for dunking. The bright, herby sauce was a light and lively contrast to the savory risotto pieces. There’s so much I’ll be turning to this book for in the future. There are plating arrangements to try and copy, flavor combinations to taste, sauces to attempt, and parts and pieces of recipes to use. Right now, I’m looking at one of the desserts from the last section of the book, the Fig Pine Nut and Mascarpone Custard Tart, and I can’t wait for fig season to get here. I’ll be glad to have this book on the shelf when it does.
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