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Challenging Elements: Rice Krispies


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An unsophisticated, mass-produced ingredient needs a sophisticated dish,” Connie Ruel, owner of eight-month-old Tutti in Lafayette told us as we settled down to taste her Challenge dish, and that just perfectly sums up what she and her chef did when we gave her Rice Krispies as their ingredient.

“It’s so strange,” chef Aaron Bennett told us as he presented the dish, “but we were just talking about the possibility of using Rice Krispies or corn flakes instead of panko crumbs for a gluten-free dish.”

Quite a few options on Tutti’s menu are gluten free, a choice that Ruel has found important in catering to area families.

“I love creating dishes everyone can enjoy,” Bennet said. “In fact, our gluten-free, vegan pasta dish is one of the most popular on the menu.”

But only until visitors taste their newest creation: Krispy rice- and herb-crusted orange roughy with a crispy mushroom risotto cake and fresh tomato relish.

“I call it butter fish,” Bennett joked of the perfectly cooked orange roughy coated with (indistinguishable) Rice Krispy crumbs and pungent herbs.

The cereal created a deliciously crisp crust that was an excellent balance to the light yet rich flavor of the fish, and the crust stayed crunchy long after others might have become mushy.

The mushroom risotto cake features oyster, cremini and portabella mushrooms, infused into the stock used to make the risotto, then incorporated into the finished product with a touch more parmesan than normal. The risotto is allowed to cook a little longer than normal, then formed into a cake and pan fried for an extra bite of crispness.

Both the rich flavors of the fish and the risotto were balanced by the bright acidity of the fresh tomato relish, prepared with lemon juice and a touch of browned butter, as well as another smattering of fresh herbs. Tasting this dish in the middle of a Friday afternoon, I confess I longed for a glass of white wine to finish off the experience.

The Krispy rice-and herb-crusted orange roughy will be offered as a special thru January 15, among their ever-rotating cadre of daily specials, and the dish is entirely gluten-free.

For more information and to view a menu, visit tutti103.com or call 720.746.9649 for reservations. Tutti is open daily from 4–9pm for dinner.

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Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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