Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Smoked Haddock & Spinach Risotto

Risotto is a dish I often forget about. Surprising really, considering rice is a staple in my diet. I never order them in restaurants, I suppose largely because I rarely go to Italian restaurants and usually there is something a bit more exciting on the menu. Brilliant they are, but not massively innovative.

Smoked haddock and spinach is a great combination, usually with a poached egg. The boyfriend won't eat eggs though, so I thought the best way would be to incorporate it into a risotto. Unfortunately the smoked haddock is, as you can see, dyed. It was Tescos Finest; shame on me! But it was also reduced to 87p. I can't resist a bargain.

I've seen various all-in-one recipes for risotto, mainly for people who can't be bothered to stir some rice for 15 - 20 mins, but I find the stirring mildly theraputic. It doesn't help to be too hungry as impatience is a risotto killer, so some nibbles must be kept at hand. The rice packet suggested '75gr rice per person, less if a starter' but I find that very stingy indeed.

Smoked Haddock & Spinach Risotto

For two

200gr Arborio rice
1 large white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 glass of white wine
2 smoked haddock fillets
Enough milk to poach the fillets
500mls fish or veg stock
1 lemon, zested
3 handfuls of spinach, washed
2 tbsp double cream (optional)
1 knob of butter (optional)
A few leafy stalks of flat-leaf parsley

Poach the fish in the milk gently until just done. Take off the heat, flake the fish aside and add the milk to the stock. Dice the onion and sweat gently in some oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and the lemon zest. When the onions are soft and sweet, add the rice, stir to coat the grains in the oil and then on a medium heat add the white wine. Stir until the wine is absorbed. Add the stock in ladlefuls and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, finely chop the parsley. When the rice is al dente, add the cream if using and throw in the spinach and the fish. Take off the heat, squeeze in the juice of your lemon and stir until the spinach is wilted. Add the butter and garnish the parsley and lots of black pepper.

Smoked fish can be quite salty so watch it if you add any seasoning. I don't like cheese with fish (unless it's a tuna melt...) so I don't add any. It's a very rich dish anyway, but the lemon and parsley really lifts it from being overtly so.


Beth (jamandcream) said...

Ive tried smoked haddock risotto before, just with some peas. It was lovely. Im going to try this next time as I adore spinach

Browners said...

This is such a great dish. I cook it all the time when I've got nothing left in the house. I was in the Sainsbury's in Victoria as they were closing and managed to pick up 2kgs of their TTD smoked haddock for £2... so I'm trying to find as many uses for smoked haddock as possible.

It's also great with creme fraiche, peas, pancetta and a squeeze of lemon with pasta.

Great to meet you last night... can you send me the details of the Dim Sum place you mentioned in
North Grenwich. It sounded amazing.

Anonymous said...

Tried this recipe over the weekend and it was absolutely delicious - thank you!

Lord & Lady Burbott said...

Dearest Schmoof Schmoof,

We are overjoyed that you have accepted our offer of friendship (and maybe more).

With regards to your comment on the scones, the sugar actually melted beautifully without hint of a grainy texture, which would have been most horrifying to us and I’m not sure we would have known how to overcome such a catastrophe!

We are terribly sorry for our delay in our next post, we have been rather preoccupied with matters of the estate. We just can’t get the staff these days. Thankfully Lady Burbott’s demanding tones have managed to instill some sort of motivation into those little cretins and things for the time being appear in order, long may this last. This has allowed us some time to revisit your blog and delve further into your culinary wonderland.

Our next dish was the Smoked Haddock and Spinach Risotto with its quite charming photo. This was quite a challenge for us, but ended up tasting absolutely beautiful. We are very proud with ourselves for taking the initiative when needed. We could not find any Arborio rice and rather than flipping out and having a tantrum in the supermarket like children, we calmly stood aside and spoke like a rational husband and wife would and decided to go for the paella rice instead. To our surprise it turned out wonderfully, we recommend you give it a go.

For our soirĂ©e we decided to invite a mysterious gentleman to join us and although he doesn’t much like parsley, he agreed with us that your recipe was delicious. He serenaded us with some singing and guitar strumming which added a relaxed and continental vibe to the evening and I’m sure he will be back for your next recipe.

We love the little stories you provide for each meal intermingled with your recipes, it feels more like listening to someone tell you how to make it than reading instructions, however we do need some clarification on a couple of things:

1. Is everyone supposed to know what poached is?? We assumed it means boil the fish in milk but please correct us if we’re wrong
2. How much milk did you use? Thankfully we were clever enough not to use 6 pints.
3. Were we meant to use a large or a small glass of white wine?
4. Why flat leaf parsley? There really isn’t any need to discriminate, the poor little curly ones
5. How much exactly is a knob of butter? I asked my Lady how big a knob is and she advised me that they can vary extensively. Then she assured me that a knob shouldn’t be too big.

We have taken a few photos of our/your masterpiece, it really is a shame that we can’t post the photos straight away. I’m sure there are some strapping IT men in the big smoke who would quite happily offer his skills in return for some well-cooked meat. Anyhow, we are saving all the photos in our scrap book until we have an extensive portfolio to share with you.

In the meantime, please may I ask that you post more recipes that don’t involve so many ingredients. Lady Burbott in the supermarket for more than half an hour is not a good idea. Also, more baking would be good, as we have a beautiful aga that Lady Burbott has used only once in the 35 years we’ve had it.

Thanks again for a wonderful meal, you continue to impress and enchant us.

We remain your affectionate admirers,

Lord and Lady Burbott

Lord Burbott said...

Lady Burbott didn't want me to tell you about this, but I feel we shouldn't have any secrets. She has walked off to attend to her darling horses so I can now write freely. She sliced her finger whilst chopping the onions. This has caused me a plethora of problems as I had to make my own tea this morning as well as put my own socks on. May be worth posting a blog or a page thingymajig on how best to avoid the little sausages.

Still, your affectionate admirer,

Lord Burbott

Hollow Legs said...

Lord Burbott,

I really don't think you should be commenting behind your good Lady's back. It's there for all and sundry to see, and she might accuse you of being a cheat.

In any case, I'm glad that you both continue to enjoy my posts, even from last year.

To clarify your points, my recipes serve as guides, rather than gospel. Do as you see fit.

Finally, I will be doing more baking in the future. I was gifted the most beautiful Kitchenaid mixer, and so this demands it.

I am perplexed in how I could possibly 'enchant' you both.

bristol plasterer said...

Yummy this sounds delicious, thanks for sharing this.