Sunday, December 18, 2011
slowly roasted kimchi risotto with trout and spinach frittata
I. kimchi and holidays
does kimchi come in handy during christmas season? absolutely!
whenever you suffer a butter and sugar overkill nosh some tangy, crisp and juicy kimchi and you will be fully revived for the christmas cookies, stollen and ginger bread front again :) i was amused to read that in these precarious situations of craving for sweets yet being overfull with them, germans tend to eat a cheese sandwich.
well kimchi would be an equally effective, less filling alternative :)
it is also great to have between opulent holidays because the secret behind is: the more kimchi you eat, the lighter you will feel afterward...
II. kimchi at any time
this could be the reason why koreans have the urge to eat kimchi all the time - like the swabian sauce it makes it easier to devour any other component of a dish when eaten together with kimchi. the younger generations might be different but for the older korean people this is still valid.
i once accompanied some korean businessmen in the rhine-main-region and whenever we visited a non-korean eatery they asked the waiter if it would be ok to unpack their kimchi they had brought with. it was not because they were too narrow-minded to
try the different cuisine on its own. but without kimchi and any other "fresh" component they hardly could swallow more than a bite of the plate that oozed with butter and heavy cream.
once we went to a restaurant that was too chic to ask for the allowance and guess what, the evening ended up with leaving the plates mostly full. the only person who could eat the whole serving was me :)
III. what i like about kimchi
kimchi is the evidence that you can yield the utmost umami flavor out of the humblest ingredients by letting time do most of the work. in many situations in cooking where bacon or cheese is added to make a dish tastier, koreans would add kimchi. and because kimchi changes its taste with the ongoing fermentation, it is slow food in the best sense of the word.
so let it be said:
if you have never had kimchi before, don't wait too long until to try it. it will bring a complete new, complex umami taste into your life!
if you have tried kimchi and didn't like it: don't give in, you probably didn't got the right one.
to make good kimchi isn't magic but it demands some sensitivity in finding the right balance of the components. this seems to be hard enough to achieve and unfortunately a lot of kimchi end in bland or oversalt results (i screwed my first exemplars, too).
IV. a kimchi meal for beginners
since the authentic way of preparing banchans along with kimchi is so laborious that i think only really crazy fans of korean cuisine can do that, here is my suggestion that involves fresh as well as cooked kimchi. the great thing is that once you have good kimchi, no additional garlic, onions or spices will be needed.
1) spinach frittata with fresh kimchi
eggs in any form goes well with fresh kimchi.
pan-fry a vegetable of preference (i took spinach for some chlorophyllic green).
pour lightly beaten eggs with salt and pepper over it and let sit.
after it gets firm, turn it over with the help of a plate.
serve with fresh kimchi (wrung out so that there is no excess kimchi juice and drizzled with olive oil).
2) risotto with slowly roasted kimchi and white fish
the classic rice dish with cooked kimchi is kimchi fried rice but if that is too simple, here is another option. who would have thought but kimchi goes well with butter and white wine, too :)
chop 2 handful fermented (!) kimchi and roast it in the oven (180° C) for 1 hour with 1 tbsp of butter. the oven-roasting will turn out all flavors and result in a shiny mellow kimchi. this method will meet those people, who aren't yet used to the harsh and tangy taste of fresh kimchi.
for 2 servings
sweat 200 g carnaroli rice in 1 tbsp butter.
deglaze with 200 ml white wine and stir.
add the roasted kimchi.
successively add 800 ml kimchi broth (kimchi juice with boiled water and additional salt).
add 1 tsp of butter and optionally 2 tbsp grated parmigiano at the end.
serve with pan-fried white fish (i took trout), black pepper and chopped basil.
V. a special invite
it's a great pleasure to release my musings on kimchi for my dear fellow blogger miss boulette: not only do i share her love of everything "classic" and of sweet yeast breads, her blog keeps me marvel at how sensational authenticity is paired with modernity in presenting korean cuisine.
thank you for the dinner invite - i am so looking forward to it!! :)