If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now you’ll probably know that I’m a fan of risotto. I love the transformation the pearls of rice go through as they turn translucent, starchy and then swell in the pan as they meld with the other ingredients to become risotto. It’s a joy to make and a comfort to eat. And the bonus is that it’s relatively quick and cheap to make, as well as lending itself to a great variety of ingredient options.
I’ve made this poached salmon risotto a few times in recent weeks, varying the ingredients slightly as the contents of my fridge has changed. The first time I made it with spring onions, green beans and lemon juice which gave it a light, spring-like feel. Tonight I took it down a more soothing level with soft leeks and Parmesan cheese. Both were equally good. Try it for yourself and use as much creative license as you like with the ingredients.
Poached Salmon Risotto
1.2 litres vegetable stock
A knob of butter
300g aborio rice
100ml vermouth, dry white wine or champagne
Approximately 500g salmon fillets
200g green beans
A handful of Parmesan cheese
Start by cooking the salmon. Fill a large, deep frying pan with enough salted water to cover the salmon and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add the salmon to the pan. Simmer it for about 10 minutes until just cooked through and then remove it from the pan, reserving a little of the poaching liquid. Allow it to cool a little until you can handle it with your hands then peel off the skin and flake the salmon, removing any bones. Set aside.
To cook the green beans bring a pan of water to the boil then add them and simmer them for about 4 minutes, until they are al dente. Remove them from the water and leave them to cool then chop them into bite sized pieces and set aside.
Heat the stock in a medium pan until it is hot but not simmering, ready to ladle into the risotto.
Add a knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil to a large, non-stick, dry frying pan. When the butter has melted add the leek over a medium heat and sauté it until it starts to soften.
Add the rice and stir well until it starts to turn translucent then pour in the wine or champagne and stir the rice for about 30 seconds while the alcohol sizzles and burns off. If you haven’t got any wine or champagne you can use vermouth or leave the alcohol out.
Start adding the hot stock, one ladle-full at time, stirring continuously. Allow the rice to absorb each ladle-full before adding the next. Add the reserved cooking liquid too as this is full of flavour from the salmon.
Keep adding stock until the rice is al dente, not totally soft all the way through but still with a bite in the middle, and the risotto has a sauce-like consistency. Different varieties of rice absorb differing quantities of liquid so you may not need all of the stock, or you may need a little more liquid (topping it up with water is fine).
Towards the end of the cooking time add the green beans salmon to the pan and gently stir them into the rice.
When the rice is ready and the salmon completely heated through remove the pan from the heat. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste, if using, and a handful of Parmesan cheese and stir in well. Season to taste and serve straight away.
P.S. The risotto is easily halved if you’re cooking for just the two of you.