We had dinner with the Family at a local pub recently and my son ordered a dish very similar to this off the specials menu. I am a firm believer in ordering pub style meals (Chicken schnitty, Steak etc) off a pub menu as I have often been disappointed when I go for something a bit fancier. Not this time…….I was so jealous of my sons meal. So much so that I made him share it so that I could do a similar rendition at home as I just loved the combination of this dish. Creamy beetroot risotto with the sharp tang of lemon went down a treat with the Crispy salmon and a fresh crunchy combo of baby fennel, rocket and red onion. The best part was my son liked my rendition more!
Prep time: 25 Minutes Cooking time: 1 Hour* $$ Medium Budget
*The cooking time largely involves the roasting of the beetroot which takes around 45 minutes. I always do this ahead or even the day before if you are pushed for time. Make sure you peel them while still warm as it is easier.
Olive oil for frying
10gms of butter
4 Salmon fillets, skin on
1 cup of arborio rice
1 small brown onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
4 whole fresh beetroot (about the size of a small tomato)
1 cup of dry white wine
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
750ml of vegetable stock, warmed (chicken or fish is also fine)
1 tbs of creme fraiche (sour cream is fine too)
2 tbs of chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt and pepper
Lemon wedges to serve
For the Fennel Salad:
1 baby fennel, quartered and hard centre removed and then very finely sliced
2 handfuls of baby rocket leaves
1/2 a small red onion, finely sliced
1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the beetroot in the centre of a large piece of tin foil and stab them all over with a fork. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper and wrap them up in a loose parcel. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before peeling the skin. It should come of easily with a peeler or paring knife although your hands will be a tad pink afterwards. Use gloves if you prefer. Cut the beetroot into 1 cm chunks, ready to add to the risotto.
Heat a large pot and add the butter and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once the butter has melted, lightly fry the onion until translucent and then add the garlic. Fry for a further minute before adding the rice and stirring continuously to coat each grain in the oily, buttery mixture. Add the chopped beetroot, season with salt and pepper and pour in the wine, lemon juice and rind and stir occasionally on a medium heat until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Pour in the stock, about a cupful at a time and stirring occasionally allow the rice to absorb the stock until it is absorbed and the rice is cooked al dente` (meaning it still has a little bite in the centre). Once the rice is cooked stir through the creme fraiche and set aside. Stir the chopped parsley through just before serving to keep it nice and green.
Place the finely sliced fennel, onion and rocket in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving add the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and toss to combine.
Heat a large frypan and rub both sides of the fish with a little olive oil. Season the skin side generously with sea salt and pepper and once the pan is hot, place the salmon fillets in the pan, skin side down. Cook on a high heat for approximately 5 minutes so that the skin is nice and crispy. Turn the fish and cook for a further 3 minutes for medium or longer if you like it cooked all the way through. I prefer my salmon a little pink in the middle.
To serve, divide the risotto among four serving plates and place a piece of salmon on top, skin side up. Using your hand (or tongs if you prefer) divide the fennel salad in a nice pile on top of the salmon. Spoon over any remaining dressing and serve with lemon wedges and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.