G and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary the other day having been a couple our entire adult lives. We try and go out to a really nice restaurant for our anniversaries and having spent our first year anniversary at L’enclume in Cumbria year two had a lot to live up to. However, year two we spent at the bottom of a freezing quarry near Heathrow airport qualifying for our PADI diving licences before heading to the Great Barrier Reef last Christmas. Totally worth it but not quite the culinary extravaganza of year 1. So I ended up cooking and ventured down memory lane cooking G the first thing I ever made her. Bill Granger’s sweetcorn fritters with bacon and avocado and the same dessert I made her for breakfast on the day I proposed – Pain Perdu. This year, we did both. Over the weekend we supped and drank to our hearts content at the inimitable Waterside Inn at Bray but since our anniversary fell in the middle of the week it was up to muggins here to make a meal. When I made it I wasn’t planning on adding it to the blog, and therefore there aren’t as many photos as normal and they’re a bit hastily done. However, the dish was so ruddy good that I thought I would share it anyway. Plus, as is customary here at TimedEating, it is totally stress-free on the actual day as all the work was done before I went to bed the night before. Perfect for when all you really want to be doing is sharing a glass of champagne with the love of your life. So without further gilding the lily and with no more ado (bonus points for knowing the reference without clicking the link) I give you orange and miso risotto with roasted monkfish and ikura.
I’ve posted about risotto before (tomato essence risotto, butternut squash risotto, cauliflower risotto to name but a few) and with good reason. If there is any one dish that epitomises the TimedEating approach to cooking it is the risotto. Most of the time risotto cooks are resigned to their fate of being in the kitchen right up until the last minute frantically stirring whilst their guests are all laughing away and drinking a glass of wine. However, that’s not how it works in a restaurant, once you order a risotto the kitchen has 5 minutes to get it cooked and on its way. So, in all the best restaurants in the world, risotto is cooked in advance. There’s no big secret to how you do it either, cook it until it is 2-3 minutes away from being done, chill it down and it will keep for a week or so. When you come to heat it up simply finish cooking it as you were before, one ladle of stock at a time. This (along with the margin) is the reason there’s so often a risotto on the menu of restaurants and why it’s a mainstay of mass catering. It also makes it perfect for home-cooking whether it’s for a dinner party or special occasion where you don’t want to miss out on the fun or even for a mid-week meal where you just don’t have time in the evening. Either make it during the day whilst the kids are at school or the night before before you go to sleep and then you’ve got a five minute super classy meal.
This risotto is flavoured with white miso – there are a lot of different types of miso available and you want to make sure to buy white miso (or at a push yellow) rather than the more aggressive red. Miso varies a lot in flavour even within a colour and the white miso I buy might be a lot more or less mild than yours which makes exact quantities for recipes difficult. Thankfully in this recipe miso is only playing a flavouring role and you can taste along the way and use your own judgement. You’re looking for a savoury note that will play off against the floral orange zest, meaty fish and salty ikura. The monkfish is very easy to cook. I’ve written a post about it before if helpful, in fact I’ve written two because I love it so much. It’s a firm meaty fish with bags of flavour that roasts very simply in around 10 minutes depending on the size of the fillet. However, you could just as easily use cod (maybe even topped with a mild herb crust for crunch) or any other firm meaty fish. With a rich risotto try and shy away from oily fish like salmon or mackerel though. In fact I’d rather go for a lean pork cut like tenderloin than an oily fish for fear of a richness overload but would be interested to hear if it worked for anyone. In any case, I hope you enjoy this dish – we certainly did.
Miso and Orange Zest Risotto with Monkfish and Ikura
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 300g risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli work well)
- 1.5 litres of good vegetable stock or white chicken stock. Brown chicken stock and beef are too strong. If you have it then bacon dashi is the absolute best.
- 100ml dry sherry or shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 white onion finely minced
- 2-3 tablespoons of white miso (or yellow but not red – see note above about quantity as miso strengths vary greatly so best to do “to taste”)
- 3 heaped tablespoons crême fraîche
- 1 bunch fennel cress
- 50g ikura (I marinate them in soy sauce to intensify the flavour)
- Zest of one orange
- 4 monkfish tail fillets
- Place the stock in a pot and warm through. Cook the onion in a high sided pot with olive oil over a medium heat until softened but not coloured. Add the risotto rice and toast for a few minutes or until the edges become lightly translucent.
- Add the alcohol and cook out until fully evaporated stirring constantly. Add the stock one ladleful at a time stirring constantly. Wait until fully absorbed until adding the next ladleful. Continue cooking until the rice is just cooked. If desiring of cooking in advance then stop a few minutes before when the rice still has too much bite, spread into one layer and chill quickly. To finish cooking simply continue cooking in ladlefuls of stock. Adjust the seasoning lightly to ensure the rice is seasoned all the way through but remember that you will be adding miso which is salty.
- Ten minutes before the risotto is done season the monkfish fillets and place on a roasting tray. Add to a hot oven pre-heated to 180 degrees for ten minutes.
- Finish the risotto with the miso and crême fraîche to taste, if it’s a little thick then loosen with a splash of stock adjust seasoning and add some black pepper. Serve on a plate (it should be thin enough that it spreads out over the entire plate) topped with fennel cress and a few dots of ikura. Slice the monkfish and place on top before zesting the orange over the entire dish and serving whilst the perfume of the orange still lingers.
TimedEating tips and tricks for cooking miso risotto ahead of time:
- You can cook the risotto almost completely through and then chill in the fridge. Simply stop a couple of minutes before the dish is cooked and before adding the miso or crême fraîche. Then transfer to a tray in a thinnish layer (so it cools rapidly) and chill.
- To reheat, add a ladleful of warm stock to the pan over a medium heat and once hot add the risotto stirring vigorously. Then continue to cook as normal.
- The risotto freezes very well. It freezes best at the same point you would chill it to continue cooking. However, you can freeze it once fully cooked it will just reheat slightly softer than original. Again it will freeze better without the addition of crême fraîche but it’s not a deal breaker.