Foraged Ingredients

By Hayley White

Reading time: 6 minutes

Campbell White has been a chef for over 20 years and has used foraged ingredients for a good 10 to 12 years of that time. “When I lived in Ireland, I worked in a small village. We used to get all this cool produce from France which made me start to look for similar produce in Ireland but couldn't find any. So I started to look for things in the wild and quickly found loads of product that I could use at work and home,” he tells me, and continues: “This really put me in touch with nature and seasonality and took me back to the roots of cooking where you used to go hunt, forage or gather to make a meal.”

It is something he thinks chefs, and people in general have lost touch with these days. We are so used to seeing our supermarket food looking perfect in pretty packages, wrapped in plastic and completely overprocessed with chemicals. “That is the issue with convenience foods,” he says, adding that you can also choose to go for a walk and find your ingredients for a salad instead.

By Hayley White

Reading time: 6 minutes

Campbell White has been a chef for over 20 years and has used foraged ingredients for a good 10 to 12 years of that time. “When I lived in Ireland, I worked in a small village. We used to get all this cool produce from France which made me start to look for similar produce in Ireland but couldn’t find any. So I started to look for things in the wild and quickly found loads of product that I could use at work and home,” he tells me, and continues: “This really put me in touch with nature and seasonality and took me back to the roots of cooking where you used to go hunt, forage or gather to make a meal.”

It is something he thinks chefs, and people in general have lost touch with these days. We are so used to seeing our supermarket food looking perfect in pretty packages, wrapped in plastic and completely overprocessed with chemicals. “That is the issue with convenience foods,” he says, adding that you can also choose to go for a walk and find your ingredients for a salad instead.

So find below Chef Campbell’s Porcini, Field Mushroom, and Nettle Risotto, featuring mostly foraged ingredients that can be found in New Zealand, which he has kindly offered to share. Note that some of these ingredients are not in season, but I imagine alternatives can always be found.

Chef Campbell White currently works in a gastropub called the Brit in Britomart, based in Auckland City Central and right on the waterfront on Quay Street.

Recipe

Chef Campbell’s Porcini, Field Mushroom, and Nettle Risotto


Nettle puree:

  • 500g nettle
  • salt
  • pepper

Pick nettles and wash.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil (you can add a pinch of baking soda to the water if you want to retain as much colour as possible).

Have some ice water next to the pot. Add the nettles to the boiling water and as soon as the water comes back to the boil remove them from the water and place in the ice water.

Remove from the ice water and squeeze out excess moisture, then put in a jug blender and blend till smooth. Add some more of the cooking water if necessary.

When you are happy with how it looks, season and remove from the jug. This will be too much puree for the risotto but you need to make a lot for the puree to blend. Freeze any extra quantity to use next time.

Nettle
Photo: Paul Morley, Unsplash


Roasted field mushroom:

  • 250g field mushrooms
  • 15ml olive oil
  • 5g garlic
  • thyme
  • salt
  • pepper

Heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Put oil in a bowl and add chopped garlic and thyme.

Put the mushrooms into a roasting dish. Drizzle over the oil mix and season.

Put in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, and check if they are cooked. If not, return to oven until done.

 

Risotto:

  • 250g arborio rice
  • 50g diced shallot
  • 10g garlic
  • 75ml white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 35g dried porcini
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 50g butter
  • 25g parmesan
  • 5g parsley
  • salt
  • pepper

Bring stock to the boil (you can use the water from cooking the nettles if you haven’t used baking soda in the water)

Add 25g of porcini, soak till soft.

Dice shallots, garlic and pick thyme.

Heat half of the butter in a large flat pan and add the shallots and garlic, sweat for 5 minutes.

Add thyme, bay leaf and rice, and cook for another 5 minutes, add some seasoning and then the wine.

Cook the wine till evaporated. Then slowly add the stock one ladle at a time, stirring often until all the stock is gone (you can add the porcini as well – either whole or chopped).

Add nettle puree (you might not need all of it), the rest of the butter, chopped parsley and 20g of parmesan. Stir in till everything is incorporated – taste test for seasoning.

To finish:

  • onion weed flowers
  • chickweed
  • 10g dried porcini blended into a powder
  • olive oil or truffle oil
  • flaky salt

 

To plate add risotto to a warm plate.

Add the roasted mushrooms to the risotto, and top with onion weed flowers and chickweed.

Grate the rest of the parmesan over everything, sprinkle porcini powder over and finish with olive oil (truffle oil would work better if you have it) and some flaky salt.

Allium triquetrum
Photo: Meneerke bloem, Wikipedia

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