I hosted a slightly smaller Sunday lunch than usual recently for my friends Brian, Ernesto and Larry. I usually go up to 6 people as it’s the perfect number for the size of my apartment (and the amount of matching dinnerware I own!) but I really wanted to make this roasted cauliflower risotto I had read about and it’s much easier to make it for a smaller crowd.
Aside from the risotto, which basically incorporates roasted cauliflower florets into a regular risotto preparation laced with Gruyère cheese and elevates it to a whole new level of creamy nuttiness, there are a few other things that I was excited to experiment with.
I am not a huge fan of sweet and savory pairings in dishes but since sharing grilled peaches as a starter amongst other delicious bites in a Williamsburg restaurant before going to a concert a few months ago, I have been reconsidering my choices. The peaches had been grilled and treated as a vegetable and were fantastic. I really wanted to try a savory play on them at home too and came across a recipe that called for wrapping them in prosciutto and grilling them which made for an interesting and yummy appetizer. You can see the recipe I followed here but I opted out of the burrata as the rest of my meal was fairy rich already.
The other appetizer I chose also combined some element of sweet (a touch of honey) in an otherwise very savory preparation for squid that included charred lemons, parsley and capers – recipe here. I sous-vided the squid for perfect results at 136F for 2 hours (and charred it on high heat in a pan before serving). The squid was indeed perfect – tender yet with a slight bite to it but unfortunately the dish didn’t come out quite as I would have wanted as I only had chestnut honey at home and even with the very small amount I put in the dish, the chestnut flavor was too overpowering. Lesson being – when adding honey to savory dishes, stick with the mildest one.
The main course was straight forward and the recipe, which I followed exactly, can be found here. The risotto was definitely the stand out element and I will definitely be making it again.
Lastly, I wanted to balance out the richness of the main course with a side dish that would be more of a cooling salad with slightly bitter undertones and chose a grilled radicchio salad with a refreshing minty yoghurt dressing and toasted hazelnuts, which did just the trick.