This dish has less fat than most risotto recipes, yet it is full of flavor, thanks to the fish and an easy red wine glaze. This provides a fairly foolproof way to cook salmon fillets.
- For the risotto and salmon
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 4 ounces (about 4 cups) baby spinach leaves, rinsed but not dried
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
- 4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 4 skinless salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each), pin bones removed
- 1 teaspoon herbes de provence or other dried herb seasoning blend (see NOTE)
- For the glaze
- 1 cup dry red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
For the risotto: Heat the broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat until heated through. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low to keep it warm.
Place the spinach in a separate medium saucepan over low heat; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 1 minute, until wilted. Add 1 cup of the warm broth, then remove from the heat. Use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth. (Alternatively, let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.) Add the spinach mixture to the saucepan with the remaining broth.
Heat the oil over medium heat in the same saucepan used to wilt the spinach. Add the rice and stir until it has browned a bit, then add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the grains appear translucent around the edges. Add about a half-cup of the hot broth-spinach mixture and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain some bubbles at the edges of the risotto. Stirring constantly, add the hot broth-spinach mixture about a half-cup at a time. Let it be absorbed fully before adding more, continuing until the rice is creamy and tender yet still firm to the bite; this will take about 25 to 30 minutes total.
Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Add the cheese, stirring to incorporate. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Cover partially to keep warm.
Season both sides of the salmon fillets lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the herbs, pressing down gently to make them adhere.
Lightly grease a medium skillet (preferably nonstick) with nonstick cooking oil spray, then place it over medium heat. Working in batches as needed, add the fillets and cook for 4 to 6 minutes total, turning them once, until nicely browned on the outside and just barely pink throughout.
For the glaze: Heat the wine over high heat in a small skillet or saucepan; boil until it has reduced by half. Add the corn syrup, stirring to combine; cook for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat.
Divide the risotto among individual plates, mounding it in the center of each one. Place a salmon fillet on top of each portion, then drizzle each serving with 1 tablespoon of the glaze. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Herbes de Provence is a dried-herb blend that commonly contains basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme.
Adapted from "A Journey of Taste: Favorite Recipes From Mii Amo Spa in Sedona" (Chronicle, 2008).
Tested by Pam Kendrick.
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