Grilled duck breast with mushroom risotto and snow peas
Like many wine enthusiasts, I am doomed to seek out the best Pinot Noir I can afford. All my reading suggests a matching of Pinot Noir with either duck or mushrooms. The fourth course chooses both. For the duck, I cross cut the fat side so that the fat is rendered in a hot pan and flip for a brief period to keep the duck rare. The risotto recipe is:
Dried Porcini Mushroom Risotto
30g dried porcini mushrooms
4 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
3 Tbsp olive oil
300g Arborio rice
30g freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Freshly grated black pepper and salt
Soak the mushrooms in two cups of warm water for 30 minutes. Strain them through a sieve and keep the juice. If the mushrooms are gritty you may have to strain the juice through kitchen paper.
Bring the broth to a high simmer and cook the onion in the olive oil and half the butter until just pale gold. Add the rice. Stir until well coated with oil and cook gently for 4 minutes.
Start to add the broth a ladle or two at a time. About half way through the broth add the mushrooms. Continue to add the broth (and more if needed until the rice is ‘al dente’ and liquid absorbed.
Take the risotto off the heat and stir in the grated cheese and the rest of the butter. Add seasoning to taste. Serve at once from a hot serving dish and have extra grated cheese available on the side.
My one regret is that we can’t get fresh porcini mushrooms in Australia. An all too short holiday in Tuscany last October allowed me to indulge; but I digress, the wine chosen is from the Yarra Valley to the east of Melbourne. Our Pinot Noir is getting better every year but possibly not as quickly as those produced by the crowd across the swamp in New Zealand. I have several bottles from Tasmania in the cellar and I expect good things when they’re ready to crack in a year or two.