TO DRINK: Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2008, one of the finest whites currently in South Africa.
Asparagus risotto balls
- 800ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 400g fresh asparagus
- 100g butter
- 2 leeks, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 400g (2 cups) Arborio rice
- 200ml dry sherry or white wine
- 125ml (½ cup) Parmesan, freshly grated
- 1 large egg, beaten
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 120g (2 cups) breadcrumbs
- 700ml vegetable oil, for frying
- 30ml (2 tbsp) walnut oil
- lemon wedges, to serve
Bring the stock to the boil and cook the asparagus for about 2 minutes. Remove half the asparagus from the pot and refresh under cold running water. Using a hand blender, blitz the remaining asparagus in the stock until smooth.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the leeks and onion until soft. Add the rice and toss to coat well with the onion mixture. Pour in the sherry and stir to evaporate.
Start adding the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring so that the stock is completely absorbed before adding the next ladle. After about 20 minutes the rice should be al dente. Remove it from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside to cool.
Stir the egg into the risotto and season. Shape into balls and coat in the breadcrumbs. (The risotto mixture should be stiff so that it holds its shape when rolled into balls. If it is too runny, spread it on an oven tray and bake for a few minutes to dry out a little.)
Deep-fry the rice balls in hot oil until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes.