Saturday, May 9, 2009

Salmon, risotto, and snow peas

We'll start with preparing the salmon, shall we?

  • Finely slice a fennel bulb. Fennel has a slightly aniseed-y flavour, which complements fish very well.
  • Julienne a 1 inch (2.5 cm) long piece of ginger. Fresh really is best here.
  • Also, slice a lemon. This doesn't need to be finely sliced. Thick slices are probably better.
  • Place a decent piece of aluminium foil on the bench. Line it with baking paper. Place a thin layer of fennel on the baking paper, cover with 3 slices of lemon. Evenly divide the ginger in half. Place the salmon on the lemon slices, and sprinkle the ginger over the salmon.
  • Wrap the baking paper around the salmon, and then wrap that parcel in the foil, making sure its sealed well.
  • Place in an oven proof tray, and into a preheated, moderate oven. Ignore the oven for now.

Next is the risotto. Risotto is easy to make. It's just time consuming.

  • Finely dice an onion. If you're not going to cheat like I did tonight (I used a carton of creamy mushroom soup instead of actual mushrooms and cream), finely dice the dried mushrooms, and soak in boiling water. Also finely dice some normal mushrooms. This will bring your price down considerably.
  • Now, start with a good tablespoon of olive oil. Add around a tablespoon of butter. ** Melt these together, then add the onion. When that is transparent, add around half a cup of arborio rice. Stir this around until the rice is covered with the oil/butter mixture, and cook it for a bit longer. While its cooking off, add a tea spoon of minced garlic. If you add it when you're cooking off just the onions, it will burn, and make it taste bitter.
  • Now, add a cup of dry sherry, or vermouth. If you don't drink, or have neither, a cup of boiling water will have to do.
  • Once that is almost absorbed (you need to stir it constantly), you add the stock from the mushrooms, or half the carton of soup, which ever way you went. Keep stirring and absorbing until the rice is cooked. If you run out of stock or the soup carton before the rice is done, top it up with boiling water.
  • If you're using mushrooms instead of packet soup, add half a cup of cream, and a good grating of parmesan cheese at the end.

  • While you're doing all of that, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. When its boiling, add a good pinch (okay, several pinches) of salt. Now add the snow peas (also known as mange tout, and bring back up to the boil.
  • Drain it. Do this right before the risotto is almost done.

When the risotto is ready, the salmon will be ready. Plate up the salmon, with the fennel, lemon and ginger, a good dollop of risotto, and a handful of blanched snow peas.

This meal is tasty enough that even my kids eat it, but fancy enough that you can also serve it for a dinner party.
Oh, and the risotto will freeze well if you happen to have any left overs ;)

** Yes, it must be butter. You want it for the taste.

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