Over the last few weeks I've been trying to experiment a little more in the kitchen, testing a few new simple recipes. I rarely have the motivation on a weeknight to try anything too complex, but I wanted to add a few more quick dishes to my repertoire. Before trotting down to the Prahran Market last week, I sat down with Nigella Express for some inspiration and found a recipe for Chorizo and Scallops. "Hmmmmm....." I thought, and dutifully bought the requisite ingredients.
The next day I was having lunch with my friend Chrystal and mentioned the whole chorizo and scallops idea. I'd decided to incorporate them into a quick risotto (as opposed to a full-on paella), together with the oyster mushrooms I'd picked up from the gourmet mushroom guy. Chrystal was intrigued, so I invited her to come round the following night to be my taste tester.
CHRYSTAL RISOTTO (Chorizo and Scallops recipe by Nigella; the rest of it made up as I went along)
Chorizo and Scallops
Chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
Small scallops (as many as you feel like... if too thick, slice to make two thinner discs)
Juice of a lemon
Chopped fresh parsley
Oyster Mushroom Risotto
1 brown onion, finely chopped
A goodly quantity of oyster mushrooms, chopped roughly
2 cups arborio rice
1 litre vegetable stock
1 cup white wine
Pepper to taste
Heat the combined stock and wine in a small saucepan and leave on a gentle simmer.
Fry up the onion in good quality olive oil over a medium flame, adding the mushrooms a minute later. When the onion turns translucent, add the rice and stir so that the grains are coated in oil and warm up.
Add a third of the stock/wine, stir then cover and leave to absorb over a very low heat. Once the liquid is all but absorbed, add the remaining thirds one at a time (I can never be bothered stirring constantly - adding the liquid a third at a time always gives me good results in my Le Creuset) until the rice is al dente.
While the rice is cooking, dry fry the chorizo (it'll ooze out plenty of oil as it cooks) for about two minutes, until crispy on both sides (yes mine got a bit burnt while we were chatting). Remove the chorizo and fry the scallops in the chorizo oil for about a minute on each side. Return the chorizo to the pan and when heated add the lemon juice, allowing to bubble for a few seconds (Nigella suggests only half a lemon, but I added a whole lemon because I wanted the lemon flavour to permeate all of the risotto) before removing from heat.
When the rice is nearly ready, stir in the chorizo, scallops and lemon and continue to cook on low heat for another few minutes. Just prior to serving, add the parsley.
We were extremely happy with the result! I followed up the risotto with an insanely easy galette, also inspired from Nigella Express.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
2 tablespoons of double cream
2 tablespoons of jam (I used my Nonna's sensational homemade raspberry jam)
1 pear, cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons of Demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celcius. Lay the puff pastry sheet out on a lined baking tray and use a sharp knife to score a frame around the edge.
Mix the jam and cream in a small bowl and then spread the mixture on to the pastry.
Arrange the fruit on top (NB: Nigella suggests apricot conserve, and nectarines and blueberries instead of pear, but just about any fruit works well... next time I'll add berries too).
Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and bake for 15 mins.
Serve and eat! It really is that easy, and as long as you have the cream and fancy sugar (which has a wonderful butterscotchy taste) you can throw it together at the drop of a hat with pastry from the freezer and whatever fruit is lying around. True patissiers may shudder, but after a hard day's slog at work this galette goes down a treat. :)