HADDOCK & SPRING VEGETABLE RISOTTO
Tana's Kitchen Secrets
by Tana Ramsay
For a slightly healthier version, use half-fat creme fraiche instead of butter. I double-blanch the rice for risottos. You may think this makes it a lavorious process, but you'll find that it removes some of the starch and produces a lighter dish while cutting down on the cooking time.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
• 10½ oz. smoked haddock or other flaky white fish fillets, skin on
• 1 cup milk
• 2 cups fish or vegetable stock
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 rosemary sprigs
• 1½ cups risotto rice
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 4 baby zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
• 6 asparagus spears, cut into 1/2 inch slices
• 3 scallions, finely chopped
• 1/2 tbsp butter
• 3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese finely grated zest of 1 lime (about 1 tsp)
• juice of 1 lime [about 2 tbsp)
• small handful of mint leaves, chopped, to serve (optional)
1. Lay the haddock in a saucepan and cover with the milk and 1 cup of the stock, adding the bay leaves and rosemary. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and allow the fish to cool in the liquid.
2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to a boil over high heat and pour in the rice. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then drain. Put the rice back into the rinsed-out saucepan, cover with cold water and bring up to a boil again. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, then pour into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water to stop it cooking any more.
3. Lift the haddock from the cooking liquid and remove the skin. Strain the cooking liquid and set aside. Flake the haddock, removing as many bones as you can. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the risotto rice and stir to coat all the grains. Add a couple of ladles of the reserved haddock liquid, stir and allow it all to be absorbed. Then add a little more, stirring, each time allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more, and using as much of the remaining stock as you need. After about 10 minutes of this, add the zucchini and asparagus.
5. Taste the rice; when it's ready it should be al dente. Add the scallions and flaked haddock, gently stir through, then add the butter to thicken the risotto and give it a gloss. Add the Parmesan and keep stirring: you will see the last of the liquid thicken. Add in the lime zest and juice. Serve in warmed bowls and sprinkle each portion with mint, if you like.
The Wonders of Poaching Liquid:
Never throw away the liquid used for poaching fish. It will contribute to your final dish, making a wonderful stock or sauce. Here it brings fishy, herby flavors to the risotto. For a quick dish, poach a fish fillet, keep it warm while you boil down the poaching liquor to intensify its flavors, then whisk in butter to thicken. A great, speedy sauce!