Des difficultés techniques…
Hello everyone! I am back and (as always) extremely apologetic for my absence. I am awkwardly trying to blog this post from my phone, as my trusted laptop has spontaneously died (right at the start of the uni semester…) and I have been without a computer for a week and a half now. Quel horreur!
Between the broken computer, some family issues, and my rapidly increasing amount of uni readings (it never rains but it pours…), my blog has been woefully neglected. But no more. Today I am pulling a recipe out of the archives – and it just so happens to be one that my family really likes. Saffron & Roasted Capsicum Risotto with Olive Oil Fried Eggs. Sound good? Then read on!
Olive oil-fried eggs have been a big food trend over the last six months or so, and I can see why. Google it, and you will see any number of articles dedicated to the joy of frying eggs in olive oil. When you fry an egg in olive oil, it becomes beautifully crispy on the bottom, without having that greasy, burnt flavour or texture that often comes with frying something in butter. If you flip the egg for 30 seconds or so towards the end of cooking, a thin skin will form over the yolk, creating the same sort of effect you get from a poached egg: the white will be set, but when you cut into the yolk, it will still be runny.
Unfortunately, when I was preparing to photograph this post, I accidentally broke the yolk of my egg…so I ended up making sort of a folded fried egg…It looks a little weird but the overall effect of frying in olive oil was just as good!
Risotto is quite a high-maintenance dish. It’s not the kind of thing you can ‘set-and-forget’– you have to stand in front of the stove, stirring, for a good 45 minutes. This version is also kind of messy: you end up using two pots, a frying pan, and a roasting dish. This is where the “I cooked, so you have to clean up” rule comes in handy (does anyone else do this in their household?). I love it when someone else offers to do the dishes after I’ve made a big ole’ mess in the kitchen. Its like being the hero in an action movie, when they make a dramatic, slow-motion exit from the big fiery catastrophe behind them (that they
probably definitely created).
In all seriousness, though, this is a great dish, and it’s a crowd pleaser in that it’s suitable for vegetarians but won’t leave meat-eaters feeling disappointed. If you are cooking for vegetarians, use vegetable stock. But if you don’t need this to be vegetarian, then I would highly recommend using chicken stock–it adds so much flavour to the dish! The olive oil-fried eggs are an optional serving suggestion, but I really think they are the perfect addition to the risotto. Serve with a bit of hot sauce (Sriracha!!) or fresh chilli on top, and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a truly delicious meal. And I dare say, your dinner guests would be impressed if you served up a plate of risotto topped with a piping hot fried egg. They’ll think you’re a kitchen wiz for having pulled this off!
Saffron & Roasted Capsicum Risotto with Fried Eggs
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tbsp butter
olive oil (or garlic oil), for frying
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried marjoram
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
a pinch of saffron threads
1/2 cup white wine
2 small (or 1 large) red capsicums
parmesan, for serving (optional)
hot sauce, such as Sriracha, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 160ºC. In a medium-sized pot over high heat, heat the 4 cups of stock until boiling. Reduce to a simmer.
- Cut capsicums in half and remove seeds and pith. Lie the halves in a roasting pan, cut-side down, and drizzle the skin with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 minutes or until tender.
- Put saffron threads in a small glass bowl, and add 1 tbsp boiling water. Set aside.
- In a large pot over low heat, melt butter with 1 tbsp olive/garlic oil. Add dried herbs, paprika and rice. Stir until rice takes on some of the colour from the paprika, then add the saffron water (be sure to scrape the threads out of the bowl and add them too). Stir to coat the rice in the saffron water, and then add two ladlefuls of the simmering stock. Stir well, and allow to simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.
- When most of the liquid has been absorbed, add another ladleful of stock, stir, and allow to simmer again until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue this process, stirring regularly to prevent the rice from sticking to the pot, until all the stock has been used up.
- Add the wine to the pot, stir again, and allow the liquid to be absorbed by the rice. At this point, you can taste the rice to see if it is cooked (it should be al dente ideally). If it is still too hard, add about half a cup of hot water from the kettle. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked to your liking.
- Remove the capsicums from the oven, and cut into short strips, approx. 4cm long and 1cm wide. Add to risotto, stir well, and then remove from the heat and cover until ready to serve.
- Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a frypan over low heat. Crack in four eggs, and allow to cook until the white is almost set. Flip each egg, and allow to cook for another 30-60 seconds, or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny.
- Divide risotto among four plates. Top each serving with a fried egg. Garnish with parmesan cheese and hot sauce, if desired. Serve immediately.
Keeping time: like most rice dishes, the risotto will keep for 24 hours in the fridge. Only cook the fried eggs immediately before serving.