Monday, August 2, 2010

Smoked Salmon Risotto with Kale

Ha! Take that, kale. I have cooked you, and you are delicious.

As risottos go, this one is fairly simple to prepare (as in, there aren't too many ingredients, and they don't need to be cooked separately or cut in intricate ways), but the resulting flavor is complex enough to keep things interesting. 

Olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 rounded cup of Arborio rice
About 4 cups of broth*
Dry white cooking wine
1 bunch dino kale, sliced into ribbons, rinsed, and dried in a salad spinner
6 oz smoked wild salmon, sliced crosswise into strips (and separated into individual pieces if necessary, so they don't clump together when you add them to the risotto) 
1 Meyer lemon, zested and halved
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

And any of the following that strike your fancy:
Some asparagus, thinly sliced at an angle (diagonally across the stem)
A scattering of frozen peas
A handful of baby arugula

Heat the broth in a small pot until it simmers, then turn off heat. Leave covered on the stove.

Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a big pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Next, add the rice, stirring to coat the grains. After a minute or so, add 1-2 ladles full of white wine and cook, stirring, until it evaporates. Add a ladle full of broth, and again simmer, stirring, until the excess liquid is gone. Continue adding broth and stirring until rice is just tender and most of the broth is used up.

Then, add the kale and any other vegetables you'd like along with another ladle full of broth. Cook for a few minutes until wilted or tender (asparagus will take the longest, so add it first if you're including it. Kale and peas seem to need about 2-3 minutes, and baby arugula barely needs any time at all). Next, add the smoked salmon, lemon zest, juice of half the lemon, and parsley, and turn off the heat right away. Stir everything together gently, adding a bit of the remaining broth if it seems at all dry. Pepper liberally, stir in the grated Parmesan, and serve. Garnish with a half-slice of Meyer lemon and a sprig of parsley, or sprinkle a little chopped parsley over the top.

Serves 4, or two for dinner and two for lunch the next day.

*Half chicken and half veggie works well.

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