Smoked salmon risotto with asparagus and lemon = my Easter lunch à la 2021!
Oh look. It’s the end of March… and just like that, it’s almost Easter! Have I done something regarding Easter? Nope. All I’m thinking about is the long weekend it brings! As a family of two adults, holidays come and go unless there’s the extended family and children to celebrate it with. And it just so happens, this year those gatherings are out of the question.
I guess I’d be fine with not paying much attention to Easter, unless I had this food blogger side to myself! Surely a food blogger should come up with a recipe appropriate for Easter around this time? Too bad said food blogger has lately preferred take away over home cooked meals, and isn’t really feeling like cooking – Easter or not. There is zero chance I’ll be whipping up any three course meals any time soon! Luckily something fitting the Easter-table can be cooked up relatively fast and easy: a smoked salmon risotto with asparagus and lemon! To be totally honest, this is what we’ve already eaten twice during the previous week… but I am not getting tired of it by far!
Smoked salmon “risotto”
Yup, I said risotto. But this is certainly not a traditional Italian risotto, nor is the recipe Italian. In fact, the name of the person who made this recipe (i.e. ME) means unlucky in Italian 😀 so I guess that’s saying a lot… My smoked salmon “risotto” is more a nod towards a risotto than a real risotto, but delicious all the same! I even go as far as to add a splash of oat cream in my risotto. The risotto would be creamy and delicious also without it, but I happen to like how it rounds up the flavor!
In Finland pretty much every grocery store sells both hot smoked salmon and cold smoked salmon! In the first case the salmon is smoked in hot smoke (= it’s cooked as it’s smoked), and in the latter case in cold smoke (= salmon remains “raw” although the salt level is such that it’s not “raw” per se). I love cooking with both of these ingredients, since even a small amount of smoked salmon adds a ton of flavor to a dish! (Psst. You can find my recipe for cold smoked salmon pasta (with asparagus… see how creative I’ve been with my cooking lately) here)
I’m using hot smoked salmon in this smoked salmon risotto. The fish is folded in at the end, along with the pre-cooked asparagus. When the asparagus is cooked separately in the broth used for the risotto, you can perfectly control it’s doneness. Added bonus is the hint of asparagus in the stock! This risotto doesn’t include any cheese, but is finished with toasted pine nuts and grassy extra virgin olive oil instead. Although the smoked salmon is very rich in flavor, the end result is nice and fresh thanks to the generous use of lemon and mint!
Smoked salmon risotto with asparagus and lemon
- slotted spoon
- box grater
- 200 g warm smoked salmon
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 100 g fennel
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot (medium size)
- 175 g risotto rice (c. 2 dl)
- ¾ dl dry vermouth
- 7 dl fish or veggie stock
- 200 g green asparagus and/or sugar snap peas
- 1 dl oat cream (or single / light cream, cream suitable for cooking )
- 1 organic lemon (peel and juice)
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
To finish the dish:
- fresh mint (to taste)
- 3-4 tbsp pine nuts
- extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
- 1 scallion (green part)
- Wash your lemon and all the veggies well. Break the smoked salmon to bite sized pieces. If you are subbing the smoked salmon with a salmon fillet, cook it the way you like, let cool, and break it into pieces.
- Remove the hard woody stems of the asparagus and chop the stalks up to short pieces. If you are using sugar snap peas, remove the ends from the pods and chop them up too. Finely mince the onion, garlic and fennel.
- Toast the pine nuts on a dry pan until golden. Take of the pan and leave to cool.
- Heat the stock you are using to boiling point. Cook the asparagus and/or sugar snaps until barely done (2-4 minutes depending on the size). Remove with slotted spoon and leave to wait! Keep the stock hot under a lid.
- Start warming up your serving plates in a 50-60°C oven.
Cooking the risotto:
- Heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a pot and sautee the onion, fennel and garlic on medium heat until softened and translucent.
- Add in the rice and stir to coat each grain of rice with the oil.
- Add in the vermouth and stir. Once the liquid is almost entirely absorbed, it's time start adding in the hot stock! Add in the stock one ladleful / desiliter at a time, constantly stirring until the stock is almost fully absorbed. Then you can add another ladleful and repeat the process!
- Keep the temperature such, that the bubbling is calm to medium and keep stirring your risotto constantly. Keep adding stock as described above until the rice is cooked but still has a little bite to it, and the texture of the risotto is creamy and runny. For this amount of rice 7 dl of stock should be enough in my experience, but if you were to run out of stock, you can add in hot water instead at the end.
- Once the rice is almost cooked but still has a bite to it, add in the desiliter of (oat) cream, the pre cooked asparagus and/or sugar snaps and the smoked salmon. Grate the yellow fragrant outer peel of the lemon to the pot, followed by the juices. Season the risotto to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Serve the smoked salmon risotto immediately on warmed plates. Garnish with as much fresh mint as you desire + some chopped scallion greens, toasted pine nuts and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil!