Crispy Asparagus Truffle Risotto Cakes on a bed of Wild Garlic, Pea & Asparagus Purée with Ribboned Asparagus Salad
Celebrating our gorgeous UK asparagus season with this trio of asparagus deliciousness, each element of this dish is so stunning in it’s own right, however as a trio the combined flavours and textures were just divine.
The risotto cakes were bursting with flavour... I used a tip from @greatbritishchefs where the stock used to cook the risotto is made from simmering the asparagus woody ends and also parts of the asparagus are boiled with a pinch of bicarbonate soda then blitz into a purée and mixed in, a genius method which gives such a punch of flavour and also keeps that amazing vibrant colour.
The wild garlic, asparagus and pea purée turned out so creamy and luxurious, I can’t wait to try it again to accompany some fish or meat. It was all topped off with a crunchy, sweet ribboned asparagus salad with the sharpness of shaved parmesan and the magic of toasted pine nuts which gave the dish such an earthy and beautiful balance.
METHOD FOR RISOTTO CAKES
- Begin by making a quick asparagus stock using up the woody stalks which you would throw away. Place the snapped off woody ends in a pan with a litre of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 40 minutes, remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and keep the liquid warm
- 10 minutes before the stock is ready, heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a large pan and add the shallots, garlic and leeks with a pinch of salt. Cook until soft and translucent
- Add the rice and stir a few minutes to toast then add the white wine and stir until evaporated
- Add ladles of warm asparagus stock one by one, each time letting the rice absorb the stock before adding the next, keep stirring
- Chop off the asparagus tips to be about 5cm long and set aside then divide the stalks into 2 equal piles. Finely slice one pile into 2mm rounds and set aside. Roughly chop the remaining stalks
- Cook the roughly chopped asparagus in salted boiling water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda – this will help the stringy stalks blend easily without having to cook them for longer and therefore losing the bright green colour
- When the asparagus is soft (about 5 minutes), drain and reserve some of the cooking water. Place in a blender and blitz to a smooth puree, adding back in some of the cooking water if needed
- Taste the rice and when it is cooked just al dente you can stir in the purée and the sliced asparagus stalks
- Add the truffle powder I of using, taste and season with salt, pepper, chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice. Beat in the butter and Parmesan, place a lid on the pan and leave off the heat to rest for 5 minutes
- Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a high heat and add the asparagus tips with a small drizzle of oil. Stir-fry for a few minutes until cooked through but with a little bite, then add to the risotto
- Set aside to cool completely before making the cakes and refrigerate for a couple of hours
- When ready to make the risotto cakes, set up an assembly line with the risotto on one end, followed by a bowl of the flour mixed with the garlic powder, a bowl of the beaten eggs, and a bowl of the panko breadcrumbs
- Make golf ball-sized portions of risotto, and flatten them into patties with your hands Coat lightly with the flour, followed by the egg, and the panko, as you form each cake place them on a tray lined with baking paper
- When all patties are ready, shallow fry the patties in vegetable oil for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy
- Remove from the oil and set on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil
- Heat the stock and butter up in a small saucepan
- Once stock has come to a boil, reduce the heat and add the peas and asparagus, then bring back to the boil, take off the heat and strain reserving the liquid
- Place the peas and asparagus into a blender with the remaining ingredients and blitz into a purée
- Add a little stock to loosen it up to your desired consistency
METHOD RIBBONED ASPARAGUS
- Using a vegetable peeler make ribbons with each asparagus stalk
- In a small bowl mix together the lemon juice, honey and olive oil then carefully dress the ribboned asparagus with the dressing
- Add the toasted pine nuts, parmesan and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes, keep a few pine nuts and parmesan aside to garnish the finish plate
METHOD TO ASSEMBLE
- Place the purée on the bottom of each plate and smooth out to flatten
- Tower the risotto cakes over the purée, about 3-4 per person, top with the dressed ribboned salad and finish with more toasted pine nuts, shaved parmesan, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and chilli flakes
- Serve immediately and enjoy!