The above picture may fool you into thinking I’m a really healthy eater, but I’m going to be upfront with you for a minute: the only reason I made this meal was so I could use the leftover risotto for arancini. If you don’t know what arancini are, I’ll let you in on the secret: they’re little balls of risotto, parmesan, and mozzarella, rolled in breadcrumbs, and deep fried. Yeah. Ahhhh-mazing. Kinda like a mozzarella stick. But better.
Anyway, that’s the only reason I made this meal, but now that I have, I actually think it will be making the rotations quite often. It’s a perfect springtime meal…the salmon is light and lemony, the risotto makes the meal more filling (because who just gets full off of salmon? not I), some broccoli to get your veggies, and of course a nice glass of wine to round out the meal.
For the salmon:
- 4 6-8 oz. fillets of salmon (preferably wild-caught)
- 4 tsp. lemon pepper — you can buy pre-made lemon pepper in the spice aisle of the grocery store
- 1 lemon
- Butter (to taste)
For the risotto:
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1/4 c. finely chopped onion — yes, I really chopped a raw onion all by myself. If you know me at all, you know the arancini craving must have been really bad
- 3/4 c. Arborio rice
- 1/4 c. dry white wine
- 2 to 2 1/4 c. hot water
- 1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbs. unsalted butter
- 1/4 freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 c. steamed peas
Let’s start with the salmon. Lightly grease or spray a baking dish. Set the salmon fillets in the baking dish and spread a little butter or olive oil on top of each piece. Sprinkle with lemon pepper, roughly 1 teaspoon on each piece. Slice up your lemon and throw a few on each fillet. If you have any leftover lemon, squeeze a little extra lemon juice over the top of the fillets. Set aside.
Now it’s risotto time. Open that wine. Pour yourself a glass, if you haven’t already. If you’re cooking by yourself, feel free to drink from the bottle. Again, there’s no judgement here.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In an ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring to coat the grains with oil, about 1 minute.
Step 2: Stir in the wine and cook until it has completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, the stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, transfer to the oven, and bake, until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, 25 to 30 minutes. Check at 20 minutes, just in case.
**Stick the salmon in the oven when the rice has about 15 minutes left. The salmon is ready when it is slightly pink in the middle and flakes easily. Remember, the meat will continue to cook for about 5 minutes when it is removed from the oven, so err on the side of caution by taking it out 1 minute early rather than 1 minute late.
Step 3. Remove rice from oven. If needed, stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cup hot water (the consistency of the risotto should be creamy), the butter, cheese, and peas. Serve immediately.
Yields: 4 servings