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L'Escalier English Pea Risotto
Makes 6 Servings
*2 ounces extra virgin olive oil, divided
*2 carrots, peeled and large dice
*1 leek, whites only, large dice
*2 parsnips, peeled and large dice
*1 head fennel, large dice
*1 red pepper, cored, seeded and large dice
*1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
*1 stalk lemon grass, split
*1 bunch fresh thyme
*1 bunch fresh tarragon
*1 bunch fresh basil
*2 fresh bay leaves
*1 heavy pinch saffron
*2 cups brandy
*3 cups carrot juice
*1 cup chicken stock
*1 ounce heavy cream
*1 teaspoon orange zest
*1 tablespoon butter
*1/2 carrot, peeled and small dice
*1/2 leek, white part only, small dice
*1 stalk celery, small dice
*1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated
*1/2 cup white wine
*1 1/2 cups raw 51/60 shrimp, peeled and deveined
*Salt to taste
*1 egg yolk
*1 cup ice water
*1 cup pastry flour, sifted
*1 cup Carrot-Saffron Sauce (see recipe)
*12 tablespoons whole butter, divided
*2 cups English peas, shelled
*6 ounces Citrus-Shrimp Mousse (see recipe)
*6 squash blossoms
*6 long chives
*4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
*1/2 Spanish onion, peeled and minced
*3 cups Carnaroli rice
*1 gallon chicken stock
*1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
*1 quart neutral oil (grapeseed, canola, corn)
*Tempura Batter (see recipe)
*6 baby yellow carrots, split
*Salt and pepper to taste
1To prepare the Carrot-Saffron Sauce, heat 2 ounces of olive oil. Add the carrots, leek, parsnips and fennel. Saute the vegetables until they begin to become tender. Add the red pepper, ginger and lemon grass. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables to color. Add the fresh herbs and saffron and stir briefly.
2Deglaze the pot with brandy. Reduce the heat to a simmer and reduce the brandy by half.
3Add the carrot juice and stock. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 1 hour or until the liquid is reduce by half.
4Pour sauce through a sieve into a blender. Puree the mixture until smooth. Reserve the sauce for service.
5To prepare the Citrus-Shrimp Mousse, in a saucepot, combine the cream and zest. Bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat, strain and cool. Reserve.
6In a saute pan, melt butter and add the carrot, leek, celery and ginger. Saute until the vegetables are tender. Add the white wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce to almost dry. Transfer mixture to a food processor and puree until a smooth consistency. Cool and reserve.
7In a food processor, puree the shrimp into an even and smooth paste. Add the pureed vegetable mixture. Drizzle in the heavy cream and season with salt. Reserve.
8To prepare the Tempura Batter, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.
9To prepare the English Pea Risotto, in a saucepan, heat the Carrot-Saffron Sauce to a light simmer. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in 4 tablespoons whole butter. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and reserve in a warm place for service.
10Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Place the fresh peas in the pot and cook for 30-40 seconds. Drain the peas and shock with cool running water. Place the peas in a blender. Puree the peas until smooth. A small amount of cool water may be needed, as the mixture will be come thick. Set aside.
11Place the Shrimp Mousse mixture into a piping bag. Place the tip of the bag into the open end of the squash blossom. Pipe enough mousse into the blossom to fill it to the point of the petals starting to separate. Tie the squash blossom end with the chive and trim the loose ends, forming a tight knot. Set aside.
12In a large rondeau or stockpot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the minced garlic and onion and saute for several minutes until tender.
13Add the dry Carnaroli rice and stir to coat with the butter. Saute the dry rice for 2-3 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
14Add enough chicken stock to just cover the rice. With a wooden spoon, begin stirring the rice slowly. Reduce the heat on the pot to a very slow simmer. The liquid in the pan will instantly become thicker and start to absorb into the rice. As the rice becomes half-dry, make another addition of chicken stock, just to cover and repeat the process continuously for 17-18 minutes. Season the rice with each addition of the stock. The entire cooking process should take almost exactly 20 minutes from start to finish.
15Once the rice is almost completely cooked through, quite dry and still slightly al dente, add a cup of the pea puree and cook for the last 2-3 minutes. Do not add any more liquid after adding the pea puree. Fold in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 2 tablespoons of butter until completely incorporated.
16In a saucepot, heat the oil to 350F degrees. Dredge the squash blossoms in the Tempura Batter and fry until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
17In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons butter. Add the baby carrot halves and enough chicken stock just to cover. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the liquid to reduce until almost dry, leaving behind a buttery glaze on the carrots.
18To serve, place a mound of the risotto in the center of each serving bowl. Drizzle 2 ounces of the sauce around the rice in the bowl. Place one tempura squash blossom on top of the rice and two halves of glazed carrots against the blossom. Garnish with pea tendrils.
Chef Kevin Ives, L'Escalier at The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL