Monday, June 19, 2006

Chervil, moustaches, risotto

Chervil is used a great deal in French cooking. It looks like a very delicate flat leaf parsley and has a slightly similar flavour but with more than a hint of anise. A proper omellete aux fines herbes must include chervil among the herbs. I have grown it from seed this year and enjoy watching it develop in the flower pots where I have planted out the seedlings, and think as I do of light, perfumed omelletes.

A childish habit I have to confess to, and which I still get a kick out of, is drawing moustaches on photographs of politicians in the papers. I keep a special 6b pencil for the purpose.

Risotto is the most satisfying dish to cook. You stand over the pan and watch, almost feel, the rice (usually aborio or carnaloni. but sometimes violone nana from the Po Valley), absorb the hot broth, which is gradually ladled into it, and swell as you gently stir. Last night it was a seafood risotto. The broth was produced with the help of a cod's head, and the sea food consisted of tiger prawns and pieces of monk fish, gently sauteed and embellished with a little cream, the resulting sauce flavoured with Noilly Prat.

No comments: