Substitute for Sherry in Saffron-Lime Risotto?
I recently went to a restaurant and had a delicious saffron-lime risotto that I'm going to try to recreate. It defintiely had a great nutty-wine flavor that I think came from the use of sherry. However, I'm a college student, and I'm on a budget...and sherry would be quite a big investment, considering I don't really drink the stuff and would only use it in this one dish.
I am, however,a pretty avid wine consumer, so I'm thinking of substituting white wine in the recipe. What varietal do you think I should go with as a substitute for sherry? I'm definitely thinking something oak-aged, like most chardonnays or viognier, or oaked sauvignon blanc, which is rapidly gaining popularity (and tastes amazing) here in New Zealand.
Or should I just bite the bullet and buy dry sherry?
You can find dry sherry pretty cheaply - and you don't need the good stuff for cooking. I think Trader Joe carries a decent dry sherry for like $5. If I didn't have sherry, I would probably substitute dry vermouth, cognac or brandy, but none of those are going to be cheaper than sherry, most likely. Sherry isn't like wine, in that you can keep it for quite a long time before it goes bad, so if you can think of other uses for it in your kitchen (I use it in lots of asian recipes, marinades and various soups, etc.) it's a good thing to have around. If you must use white wine, you'll probably need to reduce the acid in your dish elsewhere (less lime, maybe) because white wines are much more acidic (to my palate) than sherry.
BTW, part of that nutty flavor probably also comes from careful toasting of the rice before adding liquid, so be sure to pay lots of attention to that step.