hen I first say James Martin make this mayonnaise my mind immediately jumped to all the decedent foods it could accompany. Surprisingly it only briefly lingered on the monstrously unhealthily nature of mayonnaise and bacon!? But once in a while, a Saturday evening needs a decadent dish lovingly and patiently made – think of it as a culinary pat on the back for a hard working week. James Martin is one of those humble chefs that I trust when it comes to recipes (not to mention our matching appreciation for the use of butter) so all that was needed here was something to accompany it. One of my favourite staple flavour combinations being leek and bacon and a need for something fried and crispy for this gourmet mayo, arancini sprang to mind. In preparation for my up and coming supper club where arancini feature as my starter I thought a little more practice couldn’t go amiss. So out came the rice, butter and wooden spoon, the Italian red was decanted and dinner was set…
Serve with a lovely lemony rocket salad to cut through the oil.
Makes 15 large arancini (2-3/person)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 70g butter
- 200g Alborio rice
- 1 large glass dry white wine
- 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
- 5 leeks
- 50g grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon
- 200g breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten well
- 100g plain flour
- Sunflower/Vegetable oil for deep frying (About 1 litre)
- Begin by making the risotto either in the morning before eating these or a day ahead of when you want to serve them.
- Melt 20g of the butter in a large saucepan or high sided frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil.
- When hot, sweat the onion and garlic, lid on, for about 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent. You shouldn’t allow it to colour.
- Turn up the heat and add the rice. Fry for a few minutes until the rice starts to turn translucent. While the pan is still hot, add the wine and allow to bubble vigorously and absorb into the rice. Immediately turn the heat down to a medium low.
- Now add the hot stock ladle by ladle once each liquid addition has been absorbed. Between each spoonful allow to bubble at a very gentle simmer. Cook the rice in the stock in this way for about 20 minutes testing the rice after about 18 minutes by which time it should be soft with a slight bite but not mushy.
- Meanwhile while the rice is cooking fry the leeks. Melt 20g of the butter in a frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Top and tail the leeks then slice in half and chop on the diagonal into thin slices. Fry on a medium heat with plenty of salt and pepper for about 10 minutes until soft and just starting to caramelise and colour. Set aside once done.
- Once the rice is cooked and most of the stock is absorbed you should still be aiming for a loose consistency. Remove from the heat and add plenty of seasoning to taste and then then tip in the leeks. Add the grated zest of the lemon and the juice of half.
- Add the parmesan and the rest of the butter and place a lid onto the pot and set aside for 2-3 minutes. After this time remove the lid and stir in the melted cheese to combine.
- Tip the risotto onto a shallow dish/baking tray levelling it out thinly to allow it to cool quickly and place in the fridge to chill.
- Once chilled, take just bigger than golf ball sized spoonfuls (or smaller depending on how you want to serve them. I suggest one large one each as a starter or 2-3 for a main) and roll into rounds. Arrange your flour, egg and breadcurmbs into 3 bowls in front of you. Dip the risotto balls first into the flour then the beaten egg and finally coat in breadcurmbs and place each on a plate. Continue until you have used up all the rice. This should make about 15 balls.
- Place in the fridge until ready to fry.
- When ready, heat a saucepan full of the vegetable oil (deep enough to immerse the arancini by at least half) or turn on your deep fat fryer. You will know when it is hot enough as a cube of bread added to the oil will sizzle and turn golden in a matter of minutes.
- When the oil is hot enough, fry the aracini, turning as needed, until golden brown and crisp all over. Once golden, remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Keep warm while you fry the rest.
Smokey Bacon Mayonnaise
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature (this is important to prevent it splitting)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 6 rashers streaky smoked bacon, chopped into pieces
- 1/2 lemon
- 350 ml rapeseed or olive oil
- Begin by frying the bacon in a hot pan ahead of time until really crisp. Set aside in a bowl with the fat juices and cool in the fridge completely.
- Next, place the eggs yolks, mustard, juice of 1/2 the lemon and the white wine vinegar in the bowl of a food processor and set the motor running.
- In a very steady stream add the oil. The more slowly you add it the less chance it will split. The mixture will begin to thicken the more oil you add. Continue until you have combined all the oil and the consistency is thick and smooth.
- Next add some freshly cracked pepper and tip in the bacon pieces. Pulse until mixture to combine the bacon.
- Spoon into a small serving bowl and cover at room temperature until ready to use.
WINE: By no means do you need to fork out on an extravagant Italian bottle such as the below ‘Gaja Conteisa’ that I devoured these with. But there is something quite ironic about a greasy and mayonnaise laden ball of buttery risotto with a Super Tuscan that I won’t lie….went down like a house on fire. Italy, you made my weekend.