Wild Asparagus and Opal Basil Risotto with Chilled Green Tomato Jelly

GREEN TOMATO JELLY

• 300g green tomatoes 
• 1.5g agar agar 
• Salt and pepper
• 10g pecorino cheese 

Blend the green tomatoes with salt and pepper to a smooth puree. I did not pass the puree to get a clear syrup as my intentions for this jelly were to retain the tomato flesh texture. If you wish to make a clear tomato juice, double the amount of tomatoes to get 250g of clear juice. Pass the tomato puree through a muslin cloth let it drain for 12 hours to get a clear juice.
As I wanted to get a textured tomato jelly I used the puree without passing, weigh 250g of the green tomato puree with the agar agar into a small saucepan. Bring the puree to the boil, once boiling remove the puree from the heat and pour straight into a flat tray.
Let the jelly set at room temperature without moving the tray. This takes about 30 minutes. Do to be tempted to move the jelly to the fridge as the slightest disturbance while the jelly is in the liquid from will prevent it from setting.
Once the jelly has solidified cut into 5mm squares and top each square with finely grated pecorino cheese.

WILD ASPARAGUS AND OPAL VASIL RISOTTO

• 50g fennel, diced 
• 100g banana shallots, chopped 
• 30g butter 
• 20g olive oil 
• Salt and pepper 
• 200g Carnarloi risotto rice 
• 100g white wine 
• 400g vegetable stock, bring to the boil 
• 50g mascarpone cheese 
• 20g pecorino cheese 
• 4 bulbs of baby fennel 
• 16 spears of wild asparagus (Ornithogalum Pyrenaicum) 
• Opal basil leaves 

Wash the fennel, remove the tops and keep the tops to garnish the dish. Finely slice the fennel bulbs.
Wash the wild asparagus, cut the heads into spears and blanch till al-dente in boiling water, refresh. Cut the stalks into fine rounds and mix the asparagus stalks with the fennel, set aside.
Saute the diced fennel, chopped shallots in the butter, seasoning and olive oil until transparent.
Add the carnaroli risotto rice and toast the rice for two minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed.
Add ladles of the boiling hot stock to the risotto, cook until all the stock is incorporated and the rice has a firm but cooked bite.
Fold in the sliced fennel and asparagus stalks.
Stir in the Mascarpone and grated pecorino cheese and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Serve the risotto on a warm plate.
Garnish the risotto with ripped fennel top, blanched wild asparagus spears and picked opal basil leaves, drizzle good extra virgin olive oil.
Dot the green tomato jelly over the risotto. The agar agar allows the jelly to withstand heat and does not melt immediate.

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