While I recently wrote something along the lines of “buy local!”, extolling the virtues of vegetables from one’s own garden, I’m also partial to a Dutch saying “wat je van ver haalt is lekker” — whatever comes from far away is yummy. Unfortunately I have not learned to make sinasiri (next time I got to Nigeria, I will have a shopping list), so the followin pan-European thing will have to do: mushroom risotto with salmon and beet greens. I obtained a box of Polish mushroom stock tablets recently from a friend’s mom, a box of Italian risotto rice from a local deli, salmon from the market (presumably Norwegian farmed) and the beet greens were part of our vegetable subscription, so they were from across the river. A 2007 pinot blanc from the Alsace rounded out the European tour. Menu for two or three diners:
Mushroom risotto:heat some olive oil and sweat off an onion until glazed; stir in some chopped mushrooms and allow them to brown. In the meantime, prepare 2 cups of mushroom stock (from bouillon cubes if you like, and the Polish ones do taste better than the Dutch ones). Add one cup of rice and toast it for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Quench with one cup white wine, then stir in the stock, half a cup at a time, and allow the rice to cook (about 16 minutes at lower heat).
Salmon: 400g salmon fillet. Rub down with salt and pepper, allow to stand 15 minutes. Melt butter (actually, I tend to use half butter half olive oil for frying fish) until browned, then add fish (I don’t have a pan that will take a single chunk of fish this large, so I cut it in two and have to shuffle a little). Fry one side 3 minutes, sprinkle dill liberally on upper side, then turn over, fry for another three minutes. Add one pound chopped beet greens over top, splash on some wine and cover tightly to steam the greens for 4 minutes or so (until the fish is just done).
Serve with what’s left of the wine — if the cook has been tippling in the kitchen, don’t give him any more. A selection of cheeses makes a fine dessert.