No Carb 'Risotto'
You guessed it, I'm banging on about cauliflower again. My Pinterest feed is littered with recipes for cauliflower 'risottos', 'pizza bases' and all sorts of weird and wonderful things, and the world and his wife seem to be getting on the bandwagon, so thought I'd give it a try. I was hugely sceptical as to how a virtually carb free vegetable could resemble anything like a delicious bowl of risotto, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The trick is trying to recreate the creamy texture without the super starchy arborio rice to help you and most recipes I've seen seem to advocate using loads of cheese to achieve this - this may well be ok in paleo terms, but I'm really trying to whittle down my waist so did not want to chuck loads of fat in just to replace the carbohydrate element. Also, my risotto was with smoked haddock and spinach so I thought I'd poach the smoked haddock in milk and then use some of the cooking liquor to give it that creamy oomph. It worked, so here's the recipe...
Smoked Haddock & Spinach Fake Risotto (approx 450 cals)
(Serves 2 people on a diet!)
1/2 head cauliflower
2 smoked haddock fillets
Handful of chives
Plenty of spinach
2 garlic cloves
Knob of butter
Teaspoon English mustard
Chicken stock (about 200ml)
Glass white wine
Start by chopping the cauliflower into smallish florets and then putting them in a blender until small and rice-like. Treat exactly as you would rice in a risotto, so saute off in a large pan with butter and garlic before adding a good glug of white wine. Once the alcohol has evaporated begin adding small amounts of chicken stock and stirring in. Keep adding as much liquid as you can throughout without it looking too 'wet'.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan boil enough milk to cover the fish fillets. Stir in your mustard and then leave to simmer, adding the fish. This will take about ten minutes depending on the ferocity of your simmer and the size of your fish. Once cooked, remove from the liquor and cut into good sized chunks (skin removed) remembering that when you add to the risotto it is likely to flake down further.
Add the mustardy milk to the cauliflower rice tablespoon by tablespoon to see how much you can get away with. Add in the spinach at this point too and if you think it looks almost ready then add your fish and finely snipped chives. If you add these before this point they will lose their vividity, flavour and vitamins. Give it a taste to see what you think its missing. It depends on your stock (I used 1/2 a knorr stockpot) and mine then benefitted from a significant pinch of decent Maldon sea salt flakes and plenty of black pepper.
At the last minute, poach and egg to sit on top of each portion as it looks nice, increases the protein quota and you are likely to be hungry otherwise! I'm assuming everyone knows how to poach an egg.... (if not, pan of water, dash of white wine vinegar, swirl the water and drop in the egg from a ramekin)
Serve as pictured. I drizzled a bit of truffle oil on my egg too, which was good.
I'm not going to lie, its not satisfying, warming and naughty-feeling like a good bowl of arborio, but it is still pretty tasty and I bet with some cheese to hold it all together a bit better it would be very good indeed. Let me know how you get on by email (I still have not worked out how to add a 'Comments' button!)