Fiddlehead and Chanterelle Risotto
This is a risotto full of the freshness of spring. It is liable to be expensive unless there is a good forager around. The colors are green and gold set off by the lavender flecks that are chive flowers—separated from their clumps—and sprinkled on top after all the stirring. Either Italian arborio rice, which is white, or Ambra, which is gold, can be used. It is essential to have a really rich chicken stock. The easiest way to grate the cheese is with a food rasp (microplane). The amount of salt will depend heavily on the cheese.
Chives are the thinnest and smallest members of the onion family. There are several different kinds. There are very thin chives; garlic chives, which are thicker and sometimes curled; and then there are Chinese chives, which are quite a bit thicker and have a flavor between the sharpish oniony flavor of regular chives and the distinctly garlicky flavor of garlic chives. Remember that each leaf pair is a plant. Just snipping off tops isn’t a good idea. It is better to take as many leaves as are needed and then snip them into small bits. A pair of scissors is the most efficient tool. Their flowers, which come in clumps, are a delightful topping for pale-colored dishes. Hold the chive by its base and pull off the flowers.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionFormal Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturebuttery, cheesy, creamy, savory, umami
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup finely minced shallots (about 3 ounces)
- 5 cups chanterelles (about 1¼ pounds), trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 pound (2 cups) arborio or Ambra rice
- 1 cup leftover dry Champagne or other medium-acid white wine
- 6 cups Enriched Chicken Stock , heated
- 1½ cups peas (from about 1¼ pounds peas in the pod)
- 2 cups (about 5 ounces) trimmed fiddlehead ferns
- 1½ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Flowers from about 12 chives
Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.
Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until translucent, for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir until well coated with butter. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the tarragon and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. The mushrooms should be reduced to about 2 cups. Set aside.
In a heavy 12-inch casserole, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the rice and cook, stirring fairly constantly, until all the grains have become opaque—white if using arborio.
Pour in the Champagne or wine. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is almost evaporated.
Add 1 cup of the stock and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed. Continue to add the stock in 1-cup amounts, stirring and letting the rice absorb the liquid each time. After 4 cups have been added, stir in the peas, then add another cup of stock.
When it has been absorbed, stir in the fiddleheads. Add the remaining cup of stock and the chanterelle mixture. When the liquid is almost absorbed, add the Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Serve from the pan or transfer to serving dishes. Sprinkle with the chive flowers.
2005 Barbara Kafka