Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I am biased when it comes to things that involve salmon. We do love our fish, especially our salmon and take it very, very seriously. When I am asked “what is typical West Coast cuisine?”, well I would undoubtedly say that it’s known for its seafood and healthy, fresh, local foods. Think simplicity, clear flavors with the possibility of infusing some Asian influence into it.
And when it comes to fish, salmon is the ingredient that most readily comes to mind. Salmon is rarely just ‘salmon’. We have wild alderwood smoked salmon, jerky, pepperoni, pate, candied salmon…you name it!
Salmon jerky and “Indian candy” (extremely, addictively tasty) are two of the things I always bring back in my carry-on after a visit home.
So I have a tendency to crave all things salmon. Which led me to my latest creation! Like a big wholehearted hug in a bowl, this risotto is the perfect combination of warm, comforting and healthy. I love the rich, velvety tanginess of crème fraîche in this smoked salmon and lemon risotto. Together with peppery arugula, it’s a wonderful mix of fresh flavors and delicate textures that come together perfectly. Plus making this delicious meal couldn’t be easier!
I made this for dinner à deux with my favorite Schwabe and because this was a midweek meal and we were famished, my on-the-fly snapshot probably doesn’t portray how very delicious this actually was! This recipe is for four, so we had leftovers, which were just as tasty the next evening!
When buying smoked salmon, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has a fabulous website that lists where you can buy sustainably sourced products in the country where you live. Or just look for the ecolabel in stores.
By choosing MSC labelled seafood, you reward fisheries that are committed to sustainable fishing practices and contribute to the health of the world’s oceans. An important choice to make!
Smoked Salmon and Lemon Risotto
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups Arborio risotto rice (300 g)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup white wine (250 ml)
3 cups vegetable broth (hot) (750 ml)
juice of 1 large organic lemon
200 g pack smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
handful of arugula, garnish
1. In a large, deep skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat and sauté the shallots until soft but not browned, about 6-8 minutes. Increase the heat to medium; add the rice and garlic, cook for two minutes, stirring continuously.
2. Add the white wine. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add enough warm broth to cover rice; simmer until almost all broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the juice of half the lemon, more broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook, stirring a bit more frequently, until it has been absorbed and the rice is creamy—this shouldn’t take more than 20-25 minutes.
4. Stir in the chopped salmon, crème fraîche, butter, parsley, lemon zest and the remaining lemon juice. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper but don’t add salt as smoked salmon is salty enough.
5. Turn off the heat and let stand 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
6. Serve topped with arugula leaves and enjoy!