Lemony Risotto with Spruce Tips and creme fraiche
I have heard of spruce tips and seen them used in food but haven’t cooked with them before. The other day I was at pottery with Shelley at @blueapplestudio talking both food and pottery and Shelley asked if I have used spruce trips before. She mentioned a risotto she had at an event where the chef served risotto with spruce tips. That’s all it took to ignite my culinary curiosity. Shelley picked up a handful of spruce tips from her garden and soon i was on my to my kitchen to make the risotto.
Spruce tips are bright green and tender ends at the top of the branches of spruce branches. They have a citrusy-lemony notes and an herbal quality reminiscent of rosemary. They can be added raw to salad, used as garnish, steeped into teas, mixed with honey to infuse it with citrusy flavour and I am sure there are more ways to use them.
This time I used them in a risotto, cooking some of them with the rice and folding the rest into the prepared risotto. It was subtle but added a lemony flavour to the dish.
Lemony risotto with spruce tips
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 shallot. finely chopped
1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
1 cup acidic white wine
4 cups stock
1/3 cup creme fraiche
Grated pecorino or Grana Padano
A handful of chives, chopped
Spruce tips, a handful or two
- Bring 4 cups stock to a boil in a small pot, lower heat and keep the pot on the stove.
- Melt butter with oil in a large heavy bottom pot.
- Add shallot and cook until softens.
- Add the rice and cook until it turns opaque.
- Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates.
- Begin adding the hot stock, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly.
- When the liquid evaporates add more stock, continuing adding stock and stirring until most of the stock is use.
- Add half of the spruce tips, stripped from the branch into individual soft needles.
- Add half of the chives and stir them in.
- Add the juice of half a lemon.
- Taste for salt and begin adding as needed, depending on the flavour of the stock.
- Keep tasting the rice. It should have a form center to be al dente. Stop adding stock just before it reaches this stage as the rice will continue to cook.
- Once the rice is al dente add the creme fraiche and the cheese and a handful of the spruce tips and chopped chives.
- Cover the bowl and let the risotto rest for 3-4 minutes.
- To serve, spoon risotto into bowls, garnish with spruce tips and chives and additional grated cheese.