Just Good Food

by John Ryan


Risotto with Salmon and Asparagus

Serves 2, maybe 3, as main dish


This is a variation of the lemon risotto recipe. And it falls into the second class of recipes—the ones I use when I have some leftovers or too much of something. Granted, I never have filet of salmon lying around, but I often do have some cooked asparagus in the fridge.


1 medium onion, diced (a little more than 1 cup)
4 tablespoons butter
1 lemon
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
8 to 12 spears cooked asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
8 ounces salmon filet, skin and bones removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Extra parmesan to garnish each dish


1) Stew the onion in butter over medium heat until soft, then zest the lemon and stir it with the onion.

2) Stir in the rice to coat all the grains of rice with butter.

3) Start adding broth 1/2 cup at a time. Adjust the heat so the broth just simmers. The broth will reduce and thicken into a sort of gravy. Every time that happens, add another half cup, then add the water half a cup at a time. Stir frequently and continue until the rice is just about done. Meanwhile, squeeze the lemon and add a couple tablespoons along with some broth. (Save the last bit of lemon juice to season the dish with at the end.)

3a) Cut the asparagus and salmon into 1-inch pieces.

4) When the rice is just a tad underdone, stir in the parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Let it get piping hot, then...

5) Take the pan off the heat and stir in the asparagus and salmon. Cover the pot and let it sit for 5 minutes. By then the salmon is usually cooked, but it may need a minute more. Serve with grated or shaved parmesan over the top. (Don't stir very much or you'll break up the fish.)


Lemon Zest:
As you probably know, this is the outermost part—the yellow part—of the peel. If you have a zester, you can simple zest the lemon right into the pan. If you don't have this nifty tool, use a potato peeler to peel off the yellow part and mince it with a knife. (I'm not a fan of grating lemon zest because I always scrape my knuckles, but if you like that method, go for it.)


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John Ryan

Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.

This page created April 1999