I love cooking risotto, especially on a cold winter’s night when standing in front of a hot hob for 20 minutes isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are so many different ingredients that you can use, as long as you know how to make a basic risotto. Using this as a base, you can add bacon, mushroom, peas, roast vegetables, chicken, prawns..whatever you want. The trick is to make sure the risotto is lovely and gooey when you serve it, you want some liquid there otherwise you end up with a stodgy pile of rice. It might take a couple of tries to perfect, but persevere, it’s worth it and I regularly turn to risotto as a fail safe meal for friends.
My first experience of risotto was a basic version at University made by our Italian friend A, who has also tried to teach me how to make the perfect pizza dough. My attempts at risotto have so far been more accomplished than pizza, so I hope you enjoy this recipe for salmon and asparagus risotto as much as we did. The pizza will have to wait.
Soft, gooey risotto with mushrooms, asparagus and a salmon fillet perched on top, this recipe will serve two hungry people. You'll find with risotto that you just have to keep going back for more! I have included mushrooms in the risotto base, but these are optional and you can always use another vegetable e.g. leeks if you prefer. You can also cook the salmon in advance, flake it up and add it to the risotto at the end when you it is cooked if you are not bothered about having it whole.
- Prep Time : 10 minutes
- Cook Time : 25 minutes
- 2 salmon fillets - whole
- 1 small onion - diced
- 1 garlic clove - crushed
- asparagus - 125g
- chesnut or button mushrooms - 120g, sliced
- Arborio risotto rice - 250g
- Chicken or vegetable stock - about a litre
- white wine - 1/2 cup
- sprig rosemary - leaves, chopped finely
- a few Basil leaves
- parmesan - 1 cup, finely grated
- olive oil - 1 tablespoon, plus some more for drizzling
- salt and pepper - for seasoning
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat and fry the garlic and onion for about 10 minutes until the onion is nice and soft. You can use butter instead if you are feeling indulgent.
2. Meanwhile, make the chicken or vegetable stock in a small saucepan, according to the instructions on the packet . Put this on a low heat.
3. Add the mushroom to the risotto and continue frying for a couple of minutes until they have started to soften.
4. Pour in the rice and stir it around. Add the wine and continue stirring until absorbed. Throw in the chopped rosemary leaves.
5. Add a ladle of stock to the rice and again stir until absorbed. Continue to add more stock as the rice absorbs the liquid. Keep stirring it regularly.
6. Pre heat the grill to prepare for the salmon fillets.
6. While the risotto is cooking (remember to keep adding stock and to keep stirring as often as you can) , you can cook your asparagus. You will add this to the rice when it is nearly cooked, so it will be warmed up again later. Put a grill pan on a high heat and drizzle the asparagus with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and fry for around 5 minutes until you can slice through it easily. You don't want it to be too crunchy, but you don't want it to be soft and overcooked. Keep to one side.
7. Now you need to cook the salmon fillets. I use the grill to cook salmon because otherwise the flat smells of fish for a week. Feel free to fry it if you prefer. Drizzle the salmon with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the salmon on some foil and place under the pre-heated grill for around 7-8 minutes, depending on how thick the fillets are.
8. By the time the salmon is cooked your risotto should be nearly ready. Throw in the asparagus and keep stirring/adding stock until the grains of rice are soft but still have a tiny bit of bite to them. Add a little bit of extra stock at the end just to make sure it has enough liquid. It should be gooey and oozing, not dry and stodgy.
9. Add 2/3 of the parmesan to the rice and stir it all in until melted.
10. Season with freshly ground black pepper. You probably wont need salt, but add some if you want to.
11. Serve in large bowls with the salmon fillet perched on top. Sprinkle over some parmesan and a few basil leaves. You may notice in the photo that I fished out the asparagus with tongs and placed it on top of the salmon, but this just made for a prettier picture!