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Creamy Salmon and Leek Risotto with Lemon

Making risotto does not have to be hard! This creamy salmon risotto with leeks & lemon is so simple to make, yet full of taste. Made with salmon filet and seasoned with parsley, lemon juice & zest it’s the perfect dish for celebrating New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or a big birthday – but quick and easy enough to make on a weekday.

side view of salmon risotto with lemon
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When it comes to dinner parties, I’m a huge fan of risotto. Why? Well, it’s one of those dishes (just like duck in orange sauce – another dinner party favorite) that will impress your friends – while in reality it’s super easy to make. You can chop and prep everything beforehand, and then just cook it in 25 minutes when dinner time comes around.

And if you thought you need to watch & stir a risotto constantly – think again! You really don’t need to do this, and being more hands off will actually make it more likely that you get a nice consistency of your risotto.

Love risotto and want to try a different flavor combo? I also love this Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil and this Shrimp Asparagus Risotto.

a spoonful of salmon risotto

Why this Salmon Risotto recipe works

  • Cooking the salmon before adding it to the risotto ensures you get just the right cook for you.
  • Mixing in the salmon with the risotto, together with the butter the salmon cooked in, ensures maximum taste.
  • Not stirring the risotto while cooking it ensures a better consistency and less risk of ending up with broken rice grains, while also making the dish a whole lot easier to make.
  • Lemon zest adds loads of lemon flavor without the acidity.
  • Lemon juice adds a nice pop of acidity that nicely balances the richness of the salmon and the creamy risotto.

How to make salmon risotto with leeks and lemon

As with all cooking, the best way to start is to make sure you have everything prepped and ready to go. For this risotto that means:

  • Chop the leeks and parsley
  • Grate the parmesan
  • Zest and juice the lemon
  • Prepare the fish stock
  • Dice the salmon
collage showing how to fry salmon

Then finish off the prep by cooking the salmon. Melt butter over medium-high heat and add in the salmon cubes, season with salt and pepper and fry for a few minutes until it has a nice color and is cooked to your liking. This can mean all the way through, or almost all the way through, depending on your taste and how safe your salmon is. If you wish to serve it with a pink center make sure you know where the salmon is coming from and that this is a safe option.

If you’re prepping your risotto beforehand, you can go ahead and cook the salmon as well and then add it to the risotto cold when putting it all together. The warm risotto will heat it up slightly.

collage showing how to fry leeks with garlic

Then start the risotto by melting more butter in a wide pan over medium heat and add in the chopped leeks and crushed garlic cloves. Fry for two minutes.

collage showing how to add risotto rice and wine to make risotto

Then add in the rice and fry for a minute or so, until the butter has been absorbed and the rice is starting to look a bit dry – like in image 11 above. Then raise the heat to medium-high and pour in the white wine.

collage showing how to add fish stock to make risotto

Cook off the wine and when the rice starts to look drier again, like in image 13 above, lower the heat to medium and pour in the fish stock. All of it!

Mix and scrape the sides of the pan to loosen any rice that’s stuck there. Then bring to a simmer, set the heat to keep this simmer – usually medium-low or low on my stove – give it a final stir and leave to simmer for about 18 minutes.

collage showing how to know when risotto is done, how to remove garlic cloves and add parmesan

After 16 minutes I recommend to start testing your rice. For the best risotto, the rice should be cooked almost through but still have an al dente core – just like pasta. To achieve this you need to take the risotto off the heat at just the right time. This is usually a bit before you think it’s done.

So after 16 minutes, test the rice every minute and when you feel that “yes, almoooost” – then take it off the heat. Remove the garlic cloves and mix in the grated parmesan.

collage showing how to add salmon, lemon zest and lemon juice to risotto

Then mix in the cooked salmon cubes together with the butter they cooked in, and add the lemon zest and juice.

collage showing how to mix in lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley in risotto and taste test

Mix it in together with the parsley, and then taste test and season with salt and black pepper according to taste.

Expert tips for making Salmon Risotto

  1. If you’re going for cooking your salmon all the way through – still take it off the heat when it’s not 100% cooked through. The heat will continue to spread and it will cook through while you’re cooking the risotto, and you’ll end up with perfectly cooked salmon instead of overcooked.
  2. Add all the fish stock at once.
  3. Only mix once after adding the fish stock and bringing to a slow simmer, then leave it until done.
  4. Cook it slow – you want it to stay at a slooow simmer.
  5. Dare to take the risotto off the heat just before you’re sure it’s done – this is the way to ensure you don’t overcook it.
  6. Remove the garlic cloves to avoid any of your guests biting into a whole clove.
top down view of salmon risotto with lemon

Frequently asked questions

Can I use smoked salmon instead of fried salmon?

Yes, you can use smoked salmon instead of fried salmon – both cold smoked salmon and hot smoked salmon will work perfectly. Just add it right at the end.

Can I reheat salmon risotto?

Yes, you can reheat salmon risotto. It might not keep the consistency 100% but it will still taste delicious.

Can I freeze salmon risotto?

I do not recommend freezing salmon risotto as this destroys the consistency of the rice. However, it will not make it bad or hurt the taste too much so if you don’t mind this then you can freeze it.

Why does liquid need to be added slowly to risotto?

Plot twist – it doesn’t! The risotto just needs to be cooked slowly – but adding all liquid at the same time, stirring once and then not stirring is actually the secret to a great risotto.

picking up a spoonful of salmon risotto

How to serve salmon risotto?

This salmon and leek risotto is the perfect main course for a dinner party or romantic night for two. It’s a protein & side all in one – but a side salad is delicious next to it.

What goes well with salmon risotto with leeks & lemon?

Since you already have the lemon flavors and white wine these are flavors that work well with it. If I can, I serve the same white wine as I used in the risotto together with it.

For a side I would continue playing off the same flavors and go for something a bit acidic – like avocado mixed with mâche and tossed in a balsamic-lemon vinaigrette, or a simple tomato salad with tomatoes and shallots – or leeks, to keep more of the same flavors – mixed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

side view of salmon risotto with lemon

Creamy Salmon and Leek Risotto with Lemon

5 from 5 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: European, Italian, pescatarian, Risotto
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 992kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter divided
  • 1 salmon filet diced
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper
  • 0.5 medium-sized leek chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and slightly crushed, but in one piece
  • 2 dl risotto rice Avorio or Carnaroli
  • 2 dl dry white wine
  • 5 dl fish stock
  • 2 dl Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley chopped
  • salt and pepper according to taste

Instructions

  • Melt half of the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add in the cubed salmon and season with salt and pepper. Fry for two minutes or until it has a nice color on the outside and is cooked to your liking on the inside. Then set aside for now.
  • Place another pan over medium heat and add in the rest of the butter. When melted, add in the chopped leeks and the garlic cloves. Mix and fry for two minutes.
  • Add in the rice, mix, and fry for a minute or until the butter has been absorbed.
  • Raise the temperature to medium-high and pour in the wine. Cook it off while stirring, until it is almost completely evaporated.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add in the fish stock. Bring to a slow simmer and lower the heat to medium-low to maintain a slow simmer. Mix well once and then leave it until done, after about 18 minutes.
  • When the risotto is cooked, remove the garlic cloves and mix in the grated Parmesan cheese. Follow with the cooked salmon cubes and the butter they cooked in, lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped parsley. Mix well, then taste test and season with salt and black pepper according to taste. Serve immediately!

Notes

Lemon juice and zest is stated in Tbsp since the amount will vary with the size and juiciness of your lemon. For two servings you will need the juice from about half a lemon and the zest of a whole one.

Expert tips for making Salmon Risotto

  1. If you’re going for cooking your salmon all the way through – still take it off the heat when it’s not 100% cooked through. The heat will continue to spread and it will cook through while you’re cooking the risotto, and you’ll end up with perfectly cooked salmon instead of overcooked.
  2. Add all the fish stock at once
  3. Only mix once after adding the fish stock and bringing to a slow simmer, then leave it until done
  4. Cook it slow – you want it to stay at a slooow simmer
  5. Dare to take the risotto off the heat just before you’re sure it’s done – this is the way to ensure you don’t overcook it
  6. Remove the garlic cloves to avoid any of your guests biting into a whole clove

Frequently asked questions

Can I use smoked salmon instead of fried salmon?

Yes, you can use smoked salmon instead of fried salmon – both cold smoked salmon and hot smoked salmon will work perfectly. Just add it right at the end.

Can I reheat salmon risotto?

Yes, you can reheat salmon risotto. It might not keep the consistency 100% but it will still taste delicious.

Can I freeze salmon risotto?

I do not recommend freezing salmon risotto as this destroys the consistency of the rice. However, it will not make it bad or hurt the taste too much so if you don’t mind this then you can freeze it.
Nutrition Facts
Creamy Salmon and Leek Risotto with Lemon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 992 Calories from Fat 351
% Daily Value*
Fat 39g60%
Saturated Fat 24g150%
Cholesterol 98mg33%
Sodium 3090mg134%
Potassium 494mg14%
Carbohydrates 91g30%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 48g96%
Vitamin A 1670IU33%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 1281mg128%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate and automatically calculated, and should only be viewed as an indication.

Did you make this?Tag @alwaysusebutter and use the hashtag #alwaysusebutter!

I hope you enjoyed this salmon risotto recipe! Have any questions? Ask them below! Want to let me know how I am doing? Leave a rating and a comment below!

This was the last recipe for this year. 2019 has been amazing and thank you all for being here! Happy New Year!

Love,

Emmeline



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