Dry-Aged Duck Breast, Parmesan Truffle Risotto, Roasted Shallots, Wild Mushroom & Spinach

This was the fifth course to my 6-course Friendsgiving party for 3 people.

Serves 3.

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[100% organic, Long Island Rohan duck]

For the Risotto

  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 250 g Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Parmesan rind
  • Hot water
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 100 g parmesan, grated
  • 1 TBS truffle oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a large pan, sweat the minced shallots in the butter. Cook until soft. Then add the rice and coat each grain with butter. Add the white wine and cook until almost dry, then add in the parmesan rinds and 1 cup of hot water. Cook until almost dry and add in 1 cup of hot water each time until rice is al dente. Season at the end because parmesan has a lot of salt content.

Remove pan from heat, add lemon juice, grated parmesan, and truffle oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

For the Duck Breast

  • 3 duck breasts, dry-aged
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

*Click on link to see how to dry age duck*

Butcher duck breasts off and score them. Season duck breasts generously with salt & pepper, turn heat to the lowest setting and place a large pan on the stove. Place breast in the pan with skin-side down. Render the fat to all the breasts slowly. Every few minutes, pour away rendered fat. After 10 minutes, turn breast around and cook flesh side for 3 seconds and remove from pan and place on a wire rack, skin-side up, to rest.

In a pre-heated oven of 500°F, flash heat duck breasts for 1 minute, allow to rest, then slice and serve.

For the Roasted Shallots

  • 6 shallots, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Toss shallots with olive oil and salt then roast in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes. When cool, trim and cut shallots in half, lengthwise.

For the Finish 

  • 100 g maitake mushroom
  • 400 g spinach, blanched
  • Golden pea shoots
  • Butter/neutral oil, as needed
  • Salt

Sauté mushroom and sear halved shallots in hot pan, then add blanched spinach. Turn off heat once everything is heated through.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon risotto on plate, top with sliced duck breast, and garnish with mushroom, shallots, and spinach around the risotto. Top with golden pea shoots.

Cuttlefish Ink Risotto with Calamari, Tomato Concassé, Shichimi & Parsley

There was this dish at work that I wanted to eat but I never got the chance to have the entire dish because my days off are the same days when the restaurant is closed. So I kind of recreated it at home. It doesn’t have the sea urchin on it because I can’t splurge on a tray of fresh sea urchin on myself… with company yes but I would feel so gluttonous if I ate the entire tray alone.

I have some grated cheese in my seafood risottos. I don’t understand the taboo about not putting cheese with seafood. It works for me and I think it helps to bind the rice together.

Serves 2.

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[Calamari from Connecticut, Cuttlefish Ink from Spain]

For the Tomato Concassé

  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 3 thyme sprigs, picked without the thick stems
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Boil a pot of water that can fit the tomatoes. Core out tomatoes and make an “X” with a paring knife on the top of each tomato. Have a bowl of ice water on hand. Once water is boiling, cook tomatoes for 30 seconds and immediately place in ice water.

Once tomatoes are cooled, remove from ice water bath and peel skin off. Remove seeds and insides of tomato. Dice tomato into small cubes and set aside.

In a sauté pan and on low-medium heat, add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Sweat the onions, tomatoes, garlic, thyme for 30 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Cool and set aside.

For the Calamari

  • 1 lb calamari, tubes and tentacles
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Shichimi
  • Lemon juice

Clean/rinse the tubes and cut into thin strips. Save one third for garnishing and the rest for cooking within the risotto (below).

For the garnish, sauté/broil the calamari and season with salt, pepper, shichimi, and lemon juice. Keep warm and set aside.

For the Risotto

  • 1½ quarts fish stock
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • ¾ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Reserved cut calamari strips and tentacles
  • 1 TBS cuttlefish ink
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan, for grating
  • Parsley, finely chopped

The fish stock should be hot/simmering before adding into the cooking pan for the risotto.

In a pan on medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Sweat the onions until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is almost al dente. Add in two-thirds of the tomato concassé into the rice. Then add in the reserved calamari and season lightly with salt. When the calamari is cooked, add in the ink and fully incorporate ink into rice.

Before rice is finished and taken off heat, grate in some parmesan cheese and taste/adjust for seasoning.

TO ASSEMBLE

Scoop hot rice into bowl, garnish with sautéed/broiled calamari, remaining tomato concassé, and parsley.

Risotto with Shrimp & Sea Beans

This was the third course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.

I absolutely LOVED this course because it was shrimp overload!

Serves 6.

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[100% organic]

For the Shrimp Stock

  • 2 lbs large Mayan shrimp/prawns, heads removed and shelled
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 TBS brandy
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 garlic head, cut horizontally
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 TBS black peppercorns
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 7 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Peel shrimp and leave the tails intact. Place shrimp aside in the refrigerator.

In a Dutch oven or very large pot, heat canola oil until smoking hot. Add in shrimp heads and shells and develop a deep orange color, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Then sauté mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) until there is some color. Add in tomato paste and cook it thoroughly. Flambé with brandy then deglaze with white wine.

Add in diced tomatoes, garlic head, tarragon, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme, along with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 hour. Strain and discard solids.

Reheat stock for risotto making.

For the Risotto

  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1½ cup Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • Shrimp stock from above, as needed
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup sea beans, lightly packed

In a pan on medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Sweat the onions until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is almost al dente. 

Stir in sea beans and keep warm before serving.

For the Finish

  • Reserved shrimp
  • Salt
  • Canola oil
  • 1 handful sea beans
  • Tempura batter

In a large pan, sear shrimp with canola and salt. Keep warm and set aside.

Dip sea beans in tempura batter and fry lightly in a pot of oil.

TO ASSEMBLE

Spoon risotto in a bowl, place shrimp in center and top with tempura sea beans.

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Lemon Saffron Risotto with Mussels

This is a very much long over due post! Wow, this month flew by! I’m not really surprised though because July always goes by so fast for me since it’s my birth month and it’s a constant reminder that I am at the third week of my new age…

I thought work would die down but it hasn’t and I am constantly so very tired and stressed. Not having my usual two consecutive days off contribute to my being tired all the time; my days off are split. I miss my Sunday food parties… I haven’t had the time nor energy to hold house parties since May!! But I insisted to myself that I post something for July because August is right around the corner… and not updating my blog is not an option!

The lightness of the lemon flavoring definitely balanced out the heaviness of the saffron!

Serves 4.

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[100% organic, wild mussels from Canada]

For the Mussels

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 3 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 garlic head, cut in half horizontally
  • Parsley stems
  • 1 TBS black whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Pinch of salt

Clean, scrub, and soak mussels in salted cold water for 15 minutes. De-beard mussels.

In a pan on medium low heat, melt butter with olive oil. Sweat shallots with a pinch of salt. Turn up the heat to medium and add in aromatics (garlic, parsley stems, peppercorns, bay leaf) and sweat for 1 minute. Turn heat to high and add in mussels. Cover the pan with a lid and shake the pan over the heat vigorously. Add in white wine and simmer until mussels open up, 3-4 minutes. Mussels will be halfway cooked. You will finish cooking the mussels in the risotto.

Strain the mussel liquor and set aside. Remove each mussel from its shell and set aside, either over ice or in the refrigerator. Discard shells, unless you want to plate mussels in their shells.

For the Risotto

  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • Reserved mussel liquor
  • Large pinch of saffron
  • 2 qts vegetable stock
  • 4 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 1 cup packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Reserved mussels
  • Salt
  • (Optional: grated Pecorino Romano)

Heat up vegetable stock in a saucepan and keep hot.

In a pan, melt the butter on a low heat. Add in the diced onion and sweat until soft. Stir in the rice and make sure the butter fully coats each grain of rice and cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the mussel liquor and saffron, and cook until completely absorbed.

Add 1 cup of the hot broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed, and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding 1 cup broth at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is short of al dente, about 15-20 minutes.

Before the last addition of stock, fold in reserved mussels, lemon juice, lemon zest, and half of the chopped parsley.

Season and taste to adjust seasoning. I like to fold in finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese into my risottos so I rarely have to season with any salt since the cheese is very salty.

Scoop risotto into bowls and top with more chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Saffron Shrimp Risotto with Chinese Broccoli & Wild Mushrooms

I have been making risottos like crazy at work. For my Sunday food party, I wanted to make a different risotto. I asked my friends what they would like to have in the risotto and they said “mushrooms”. Then I wanted shrimp and Chinese broccoli stems in the rice as well so that’s how I created this dish. And why not add some saffron, to make this risotto extra luxurious?

I planned on using maitake mushrooms but the store was out so I bought oyster and king oyster mushrooms. I also had some shiitake at home so it was a nice blend.

My friends and I are all big eaters so technically this recipe serves 8 but we were 4 people.

In case if you were wondering, this is what I cooked for our food party:

Serves 4.

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[100% organic, shrimp from Australia]

For the Risotto

  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2 qts dashi stock

Heat up dashi in a saucepan and keep hot.

In a pan, melt the butter on a low heat. Add in the diced onion and sweat until soft. Stir in the rice and make sure the butter fully coats each grain of rice and cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and saffron, and cook until completely absorbed.

Add 1 cup of the hot broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed, and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding 1 cup broth at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is short of al dente, about 15-20 minutes.

For the Garnishes

  • 2 lbs tiger shrimp
  • 2 cups oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 king oyster mushrooms
  • 1 bunch Chinese broccoli
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Shrimp: Save 8 shrimp whole, peeled to the tail then peel, clean, and devein remaining shrimp. Save shells for later use. Chop up remaining shrimp and set both whole and chopped shrimp aside. Fold in chopped shrimp into risotto and add some more broth to further cooking the shrimp and rice.

Mushrooms: Clean mushrooms and cut into bite-sized pieces. Sauté mushrooms until golden and set aside. Fold into risotto.

Chinese broccoli: cut leaves off and use stems only. Save leaves for later use. Using a mandolin or knife, slice stems into 2 mm rounds. Fold into risotto.

For the Finish

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 reserved shrimp
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Whip cream until stiff and fold into risotto. Season risotto and taste to adjust seasoning.

Sear shrimp in a pan and drain on paper towels.

TO ASSEMBLE

Scoop risotto into bowls and top with 2 interlocking shrimp. Serve immediately.

Seafood Medley with Seared Coconut Risotto Cake

This was the third course to my 6-course New Year’s Day Dinner party for 8 people.

I love sauce making. Love it! And this sauce was particularly “TO DIE FOR!”

I wasn’t entirely happy with the plating because by this time, it was getting late and the pick-up time for this dish was already taking a long time. I was hungry and I was sure my friends were too. I wished I had planned out the plating for this dish more.

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For the Risotto Cake

  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1½ cup Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups dashi stock, or as needed
  • One 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a pan on medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Sweat the shallots until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is almost al dente. Add in coconut milk and continue cooking until rice is done and mixture if fairly dry.

Season the risotto and pour out onto a half-sheet pan and refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.

For the Seafood Medley

  • 2 lbs shrimp, with head and shells
  • 16 scallops
  • 2 lbs mussels, cleaned and beards removed
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Remove heads and shell shrimp. Peel shrimp until the last segment of the tail and the tail itself. Place heads and shells in a bowl, set aside. Devein shrimp and set aside, either over ice or back in the refrigerator.

Get a pan very hot and throw in mussels, butter, shallots, parsley, and bay leaf. Cover the pan with a lid and shake the pan over the heat vigorously. Add in white wine and simmer until mussels open up, 3-4 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Mussels will be halfway cooked. You’ll finish cooking the mussels when the sauce is ready.

Strain the mussel liquor and set aside. Remove each mussel from its shell and set aside, either over ice or in the refrigerator. Discard shells, unless you want to plate mussels in their shells.

For the Shrimp/Mussel Sauce

  • Reserved shrimp heads and shells, from above
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 TBS brandy
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 garlic head, cut horizontally
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 TBS black peppercorns
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 7 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Reserved mussel jus
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a Dutch oven or very large pot, heat canola oil until smoking hot. Add in shrimp heads and shells and develop a deep orange color, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Then sauté mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) until there is some color. Add in tomato paste and cook it thoroughly. Flambé with brandy then deglaze with white wine.

Add in diced tomatoes, garlic head, tarragon, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme, along with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 hour. Strain and discard solids. Continue to reduce and reduce until you have around 2 cups of sauce. Add in reserved mussel jus and taste for seasoning. Adjust for seasoning and set aside, keep warm.

For the Finish

  • Risotto
  • Reserved mussels
  • 16 scallops
  • Reserved shrimp, deveined
  • AP flour, as needed
  • Butter, as needed
  • Tarragon, as needed, finely chopped
  • Parsley, as needed, finely chopped
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon wedges

When the risotto has cooled and solidified, punch out eight 2-inch risotto rounds. Brown/sear the risotto round on both sides in a non-stick pan and transfer to a tray. Flash in a 500°F oven before plating.

Make a beurre manié and add it to the sauce until you are satisfied with the consistency. The sauce shouldn’t be too thick. I added just a small pinch of beurre manié. Add mussels to sauce and keep sauce on simmering-heat. As you sear the rest of the seafood, the mussels will be done.

Sear both shrimp and scallops, separately, with salt and pepper. Squeeze some lemon juice over cooked shrimp and scallop, keep warm and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Place risotto cake in the center of the plate. Arrange 2 scallops and shrimp (4-6 pieces) around. Top with spoonful of sauce and mussels. Sprinkle freshly chopped tarragon and parsley over everything and serve immediately.

Squid Ink Risotto with Seared Sea Scallops, Calamari & Cherrystone Clams, Pistachio Cilantro Quenelle, and a Saffron Dashi Velouté

This dish totally didn’t turn out the way that I had planned but as Tim Gunn says on Project Runway, “Make it work!” I made it work.

My original plan failed because of my crappy food processor. I’m still using the same one when I was back in Texas. It’s so small and the plastic pieces keep on breaking and the speed is quite weak… I also wanted calamari tentacles but at Whole Foods, they only had the tubes. Anyway, the final product was quite delicious.

[100% organic, wild sea scallops, calamari from Thailand, clams from USA]

For the Risotto

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 6 cups dashi stock
  • 2 TBS squid ink
  • ¼ cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • Salt & pepper

Heat up the stock and keep simmering at low heat. In a pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter and heat up the olive oil. Sweat the garlic and shallots and sweat until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the butter and oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is al dente, about 20-30 minutes. Before adding the last addition of stock, stir in the squid ink.

When risotto is done, season with salt and pepper. Then fold in the grated cheese and combine well. Adjust seasoning and keep warm.

For the Pistachio Cilantro Quenelles

  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, and extra for ganish
  • 2 TBS miso
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt & pepper

The miso already has a lot of salt in it so be mindful of when you season. Put everything into the food processor and blend until desired consistency. Remove and set aside.

For the Calamari

  • 3 calamari tubes
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Slice the tubes into rings. Sauté the calamari for 1-2 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Drain from pan and keep warm.

For the Clams & Velouté

  • 2 cups dashi stock
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 4 Cherrystone clams
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS AP flour
  • Salt

If you have remaining dashi stock from the risotto, add that to the 2 cups for the velouté. Place the saffron into warm dashi stock and let it infuse for 15 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add in the clams and bring to a slow simmer. Once the clams have fully opened, they are ready.

Remove clams from shells and keep warm. Strain dashi through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and into another pot. Slowly whisk in the butter and flour, to make the roux, and once sauce as thickened, adjust for seasoning and keep warm.

For the Scallops

  • 4 colossal sea scallops
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat a pan over high heat and add in enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Before you add in the scallops, you should see the tiniest bit of smoke. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Once you put the scallops into the pan, DO NOT MOVE THEM and turn heat to medium. Cook scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how big your scallops are.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a ring mold, pack the risotto. Top with the calamari rings and clams. Place scallops on the plate, drizzle velouté over scallops and top of risotto and calamari. Using two spoons, make quenelles from the pistachio cilantro mixture.