If you know Raymond Blanc, then you must know his restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. A while ago, we dined there. It was probably one of the best Michelin star restaurants that we have ever been that left us with really good experience!
I remember we had Menu Découverte, a 9-course menu at £150 per person, excluding wine, coffee and petit fours. (Yes, it’s not cheap for good food!) Raymond Blanc is one of the inspiring chefs who teaches proper French food. If you want to learn making ‘real’ French food (when I say ‘real’, it means authentic, comprehensive and correct methods that guarantee great outcomes!), then you will not be disappointed. For those who are serious about food, then you’ll know what I mean.
I watched one of the series of Kitchen’s Secret by Raymond Blanc and was reminded to try out the tomato essence and tomato risotto recipes. When we were at Le Manoir, we have tomato risotto and absolutely loved it. I remember asking one of the waiters how it was cooked and he did explain the tomato essence bit to me! So, I was keen to try making it at home. This recipe takes a bit of patience as you need to make the tomato a day before, preferably. But, the result is well worth it!
I forgot to take a picture when I hang the muslin parcel with tomato mixture to obtain the essence. Hence, I just took a photo shown below to demonstrate how the tomato essence was obtained.
Tomatoes are abundant at this time of the year. So, try to grab those little jewel-liked cherry tomatoes. This is truly a vegetarian dish and I was really impressed by all the flavours without using seafood or meat. I could eat this risotto everyday! Look at the dish, it’s so summery and basically it is summer in a dish, I would say! I think the tomato essence is such a great idea that brings a potentially plain risotto to another level of flavour.
I have changed a bit on the ingredients by omitting some ingredients and adding some of those that I got at home. For the tomato essence, I kept and put a few small tomato vines to marinate with the mixture and removed them before I poured it into a muslin cloth. I truly recommend this recipe, even if you are not vegetarian! You’ll be amazed of the flavour combinations that make this a great vegetarian risotto! Thank you, Raymond, for this wonderful recipe!