Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Risotto with Sorrel and a Shredded Salad of Many Greens

Two posts in one day, oh my! First, this isn't likely to become a habit. Second, it was opening day at the Memphis Farmer's Market, and I shot out of bed like an excited fanboy on the morning of Comic Con today. I get so unreasonably excited about the start of the season and all of the tender young things at the market: baby onions, baby greens, baby tomato plants, baby garlic. No human babies at the market this morning, though; it was too cold. Anyway, opening day = cause for celebration.

The new pavilion extension is coming along and looks great.

I ended up coming home with two tomato starts from Bennett-Burke Nursery, a Goliath and a Rutgers. Those two men are wizards, I swear. The seedlings are up to my knees already, and it's April. April, people.

Also scooped up Jones Orchard strawberries, Whitton Farms sorrel, and Flora Farms mixed lettuces. Sorrel is a green that tastes like lemon. Or kiwi. Or strawberry. Something slightly acidic and tart. Lunch was another greens-and-grains combo. The sorrel gave the salad some kick and made the risotto faintly citrusy, as well as olive green. Oh yeah, I used Bonnie Blue Farms goat cheese in the risotto. Pro tip: goat cheese freezes well, if you've got an odd bit left that you're not going to use immediately.

I cut the recipe down to make risotto for one, but it could easily be doubled or tripled as written below.

Spring Risotto with Sorrel and a Shredded Salad of Many Greens
both adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

For the risotto
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 handful of sorrel (1 cup trimmed leaves)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup short-grain rice
3 cups simmering vegetable or chicken stock
a couple ounces of goat cheese

Melt the butter in a saute pan [I used my wok], add the onions, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about five minutes.

Add the sorrel and cook until it has collapsed into the onion after several minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

Add the rice, stir it about, and cook for 1 minute.

Pour in one ladle-ful of the hot stock. Simmer until it has been absorbed, then add the rest, one ladle-ful at a time. Stir energetically and continue adding liquid after each addition is absorbed.

After 10 minutes.

After 20 minutes.

After 25 minutes.

When the rice is tender, stir in the goat cheese, taste for salt and pepper, and serve.

For the salad:
Seriously, just shred up whatever interesting herbs you have around and add them to a handful of mixed lettuces. Here I used the sorrel, the mixed tender lettuces, and some spearmint. Deborah suggests napa cabbage (crunchy), butter lettuce (tender), dandelion greens (bitter), parsley, radish leaves, etc. The idea is to mix it up with flavors and textures for a party on the taste buds. Wash and dry the greens, then pour over your favorite vinaigrette -- mine is 1 garlic clove smooshed with a pinch of salt, add three parts olive oil and one part vinegar, plus some ground pepper.

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