Pan-roasted cod loin with pea and asparagus risotto

12 Jul

Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish made from a short-grained, starchy variety of rice called arborio rice. The technique for making it is called the risotto method, which involves stirring small amounts of hot stock or broth into the rice a little at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed as you go.

While the rice cooks, it releases its starch, which is essential to giving the risotto a rich, creamy consistency. The more starch in your rice, the creamier the risotto. This is why cooking your rice slowly is essential; cooking risotto low and slow gives super-starchy arborio rice the time it needs to release the starch and achieve the sought-after creaminess.

Like pasta, risotto is cooked al dente, which means that it should be slightly firm to the bite—a degree of doneness that might seem underdone in ordinary white rice. It should not be crunchy though.

Ingredients

• COD LOIN

• 4 portions of cod loin, thick, skin-on

• 2 tbsp of olive oil

• 30g of unsalted butter

salt

freshly ground black pepper

• PEA AND ASPARAGUS RISOTTO

• 150g of asparagus spears, fine

• 1l vegetable or chicken stock, fresh

• 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

• 1 small fennel bulb finely chopped

• Zest and juice of 1 lemon

• 1 Handful of chopped mint

• 1 handful of chopped oregano and dill

• 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

• 25g of unsalted butter, diced

• 250g of carnaroli risotto rice

• 250ml of dry white wine

• 50g fresh or frozen peas

• 30g of Parmesan, finely grated

• 1 tbsp of olive oil

salt

freshly ground black pepper

• Sprigs of dill for serving

Method

1

To begin, place the vegetable stock in a small pan, bring to the boil then keep warm over a low heat

2

Prepare the asparagus by snapping of the woody ends (add the woody ends to the pan with vegetable stock). Cut an inch off the tips of the spears and finely slice the remaining middle section into discs, setting both aside

3

Make the risotto by adding the olive oil to a wide, heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Sweat the shallot, fennel and crushed garlic until soft and translucent, this will take around 8–10 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper

4

Add the diced butter to the pan along with the rice and stir for a couple of minutes until the rice becomes hot and sticky. Turn up the heat and add the white wine, stirring until the wine has evaporated

5

Remove the woody asparagus ends from the stock with a slotted spoon and discard them. Lower the heat to moderate and start adding the stock to the rice, one ladleful at a time. Stir and allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding another ladleful. After 10 minutes, add the asparagus tips and sliced middles along with the peas, chopped herbs, lemon zest and juice. Continue adding the stock until the rice is cooked with a slight bite, approximately another 5–8 minutes

6

While the risotto is cooking, prepare the cod, seasoning it with salt and pepper. Heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the fish to the pan, skin-side down. Turn the heat down and cook for 5 minutes. Add the butter to the pan and turn the fish over, cook for a further 4–6 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish, basting occasionally with butter

7

Finish the risotto by stirring in the Parmesan and seasoning to taste. Divide between four plates or bowls and top with the fish and sprigs of dill . Serve immediately.

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