There is no better way to enjoy spring cooking than with asparagus. Seeing it shoot up from the warming ground is a delicious forecast to the weather ahead. This creamy salmon and asparagus risotto is a great to enjoy the time tested pairing of these two delicacies.
Other great spring recipes
When I make risotto I love using a quick stock out of the ingredients I am already using as opposed to buying store bought stock. In this case, simply poach the tough leek tops and asparagus stems with a pinch of salt. This drags out all of their wonderful spring flavor rather than just discarding them. After about 10 minutes of that, I also poach the salmon in this broth, not only to cook the salmon, but to not waste one bit of it’s savor. This simple broth is the secret to turn a good risotto into a “wow” risotto.
A good risotto rice like carnaroli or arborio are great when you can find them. However, any short grain rice will work well. Sometimes I use Japanese rice or sweet rice if that is what I have around, just don’t tell an Italian grandmother this! Make sure to treat the rice with respect and don’t overcook it. Risotto should have a little chew left, similar to al dente pasta. But, seasoned with a splash of wine, lemon, butter, and parmesan, it is hard to screw up!
Don’t limit yourself to spring either! This salmon and asparagus risotto can enjoyed any time.
Salmon and Asparagus risotto
- 1 large leek, (light green and white parts diced, dark green section reserved for stock)
- 1 lb asparagus, (stems removed for stock, cut into 2" segments)
- 1 lb salmon, (skin on preferably)
- 5 cups water
- 4 tbsp butter, (divided)
- 3 cloves garlic, (minced)
- ½ cup dry white wine, (Plus more to drink while cooking)
- 2 cups short grain risotto rice, (such as carnaroli or arborio)
- ½ cup parmesan, (shredded)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 lemon, (juiced)
- salt and fresh pepper, (to taste)
- fresh dill and olive oil, (for serving)
- In a large saucepan, add the dark green leeks tops, asparagus stems, water, and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Then, remove the veggies with a slotted spoon and discard. Poach the remaining chopped asparagus in the stock for 3-4 minutes or until just tender. Remove to a bowl of cold ice water and reserve.
- Next, poach the salmon in the stock for 3-4 minutes and remove. Once cool to the touch, remove the skin and shred into large pieces. It's ok if its not cooked all the way through yet. Reserve the salmon and stock for the risotto.
Salmon and Asparagus Risotto
- In a different sauce pan, under medium heat add half of the butter and chopped leeks and sauté for 4-5 minutes until slightly browned. Then, pour in the wine and minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until very fragrant. Season with salt.
- Next, add the rice to the pan and stir to coat with the wine-butter mixture. Then, slowly add a ladle or two of stock to the rice at a time until the rice is cooked through, adding more when the rice drys out. This process should take about 15 minutes. Stir often.
- Once the risotto is cooked perfectly, soft with a slight chew, stir in the remaining butter, parmesan, cream, and lemon juice. Then, add the reserved asparagus and salmon, and cook for 1-2 minutes until warmed through. Season with salt.
- Serve with some fresh dill, olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and fresh pepper.
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