Two Dorchester chefs recently displayed their culinary prowess to capture the top prize in the REI Outdoor Cooking Challenge. The winning dish: seafood campfire risotto.
Chefs Chris Douglass and Nuno Alves of Ashmont’s Tavolo, which opened in 2008 wowed the crowd with their mouthwatering recipe, which allows hikers to eat gourmet even if they are off the beaten path.
"We had a lot of fun joking with the other chefs, hamming it up for the judges, and playing around with all the neat equipment that REI provided," Alves said. "I think we won because we made creative use of every cooking implement they had, and because no one expects to be able to make risotto in a camping trip, but it's actually fairly easy."
The competition, which was co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture and is in its third year, pit local chefs against each other in a head-to-head cook-off that featured the added twist of one secret ingredient, according to Wicked Local.
Douglass and Alves faced Chef Jay Murray of The South End’s Grill 23 and Chef Patricia Yeo of Central Square’s Moksa and the hit Bravo show, “Top Chef Masters”, at the competition held at Cambridge's North Point Park July 28.
The chefs have released their recipe, which can be found below.
Summer seafood risotto
1 cup white wine
¼ cup salted butter, plus ½ tsp.
¼ cup onion, minced
¼ lb. chorizo, diced
¼ cup dried baby shrimp
2 cups Arborio or carnaroli rice
3 qts. fish stock, warmed
¼ cups grated fresh parmesan
¼ cup diced zucchini, caramelized
¼ cup diced eggplant, caramelized chopped scallions for garnish if desired
1. Saute onions and chorizo in butter til tender.
2. Saute rice briefly with onions and butter.
3. Add wine and stir constantly until liquid is reduced and almost dries.
4. Add fish stock ladle by ladle, stirring well between spoonfuls so liquid gets absorbed
5. Add zucchini, eggplant and dried shrimp (reconstituted with a bit of fish stock in advance of adding)
6. Continue cooking, adding small amounts of stock at a time.
7. When rice is al dente and creamy, finish the dish with the parmesan cheese and remaining butter. Sprinkle scallions on top. Serve hot.
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