Sunday, August 22, 2010

RECIPE - Risotto of Mandioquinha and Smoked Trout

This year the prestigious Italian gastronomic firm Riso Gallo released a guide to the 100 best risotto recipes in the world. Many of the recipes came from restaurants in Italy, naturally, but two were from restaurants São Paulo, Brazil. With a large community of Italian-immigrant descendants, and a vibrant contemporary cooking scene, it's not entirely unlikely that São Paulo restaurants would make their way into this 100 best list. What was less predictable was that one of the risotto recipes would feature the humble root that is perhaps Brazil's oldest-cultivated ingredient - mandioquinha.

One of  São Paulo's most highly regarding restaurants, Cantaloup, was chosen for this "100 Best" list for its risotto of mandioquinha and smoked trout. As mandioquinha is not easy to find in North American or European food markets, this recipe can be adapted for the northern hemisphere by substituting celeriac, or celery root, for the mandioquinha. There will be a slightly stronger celery flavor than in the original dish, but since the taste of celery is part of the flavor palette of mandioquinha, the resulting risotto will be quite similar to Cantaloup's original.
RECIPE - Risotto of Mandioquinha and Smoked Trout
Serves 4

For the shrimp butter:
5 medium-sized shrimp heads (reserve bodies for other use)
1/4 cup (40 gr) yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup (80 gr) unsalted butter, softened

For the risotto:
4 free-range eggs
1/2 cup (80 gr) yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/3 cups (260 gr) arborio or carnaroli rice
1/2 lb (240 gr) smoked trout
1/4 lb (100 gr) Parmesan cheese, grated
fleur de sel to taste
fresh-ground black pepper to taste
finely chopped parsley
4 cups (1 liter) light chicken stock, simmering
green onion, finely chopped, green parts only
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
one sprig fresh dill, chopped
1/4 lb (100 gr) mandioquinha or celeriac
1/4 lb (100 gr) fresh fava beans or lima beans, shelled
Prepare the shrimp butter: In a medium non-stick frying pan combine the shrimp heads, onion and garlic. Stir fry over medium heat for a few minutes, or until the heads begin to yield their juices. Add the white wine and bring quickly to a boil to deglaze the pan. Continue to boil until the wine is reduced by half. Pour all the ingredients into a sturdy sieve over a small bowl, and press hard on them to extract all the juice. Let cool slightly, then mix into the softened butter. Reserve.

Prepare the smoked trout: Cut into 1/4 in (1 cm) cubes. Place in a small bowl, then add  the olive oil and chopped herbs (green onion, parsley and dill). Stir to completely coat the trout with the marinade. Reserve.

Prepare the eggs: Bring 4 cups (1 liter) water to the boil over high heat. Add the eggs, and boil for 4 1/2 minutes. Remove the eggs from the heat, and plunge them into ice-water to stop cooking. Let cool completely in the water, then carefully peel them. Reserve in refrigerator.

Prepare the mandioquinha: Peel and cube the mandioquinha. Bring the cubes to a boil in lightly salted water. When tender and soft, drain and mash the mandioquinha, adding a small amount of butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the beans: Bring 4 cups (1 liter) lightly salted water to boil. Add the beans and cook for a few minutes, until they are just tender. Plunge the beans into cold water to set the color. Drain and reserve.

Complete the risotto: In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic then cook, stirring continuously, until the onion is transparent but not browned. Add the rice and, continuing to stir, cook until the rice becomes transparent. Add the white wine and cook until the wine is totally absorbed. Begin to add the chicken stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly, allowing each addition to be absorbed completely before adding the next. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a small pan, remove from heat, then carefully add the refrigerated eggs to heat them. When the rice is just al dente and all or most of the stock has been absorbed, add the mashed mandioquinha, the beans, the marinated trout and stir for a few moments, until everything is heated through. Remove from the heat. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and the shrimp butter, and stir very well. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Portion the risotto onto four deep plates. Add one egg to the top of each, then sprinkle with additional parsley and dill to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipe translated and adapted from Folha de S. Paulo.


  1. It looks lovely - love the egg perched on top! Great photo

  2. I agree - but I can't claim credit for the photo. It comes from the same source as the recipe, which is credited at the bottom of the post.

    Thanks for the comment.