Haddock risotto is my new favourite way to serve fish. If you’re looking for a way to keep fish interesting, especially haddock, then look no further!
Cooking is definitely the cure for everything that I may ever complain about. Particularly when I’ve just been inspired by a wonderful trip to Italy and even if my latest complaint is that I am no longer amongst the perfect lines of cypress trees and gorgeous rolling hills of the Italian Countryside. We really do love the Italian countryside and so there is a lot of holiday blues going on in our house at the moment. So what better way to ease us out of Italy and back to the normal routine than to recreate some of the amazing food we were lucky enough to devour whilst we were there? RISOTTO!!
This dish is straight from the heart of Northern Italy, with the exception that my version uses haddock and not trout fillets that are local to the shores of Lake Como. Trout from Lake Como is certainly a show stopper and I would urge you to try it should you ever be in this part of the world, however, a couple of fillets of haddock also work amazingly well in this dish. Plus it’s not an expensive piece of fish, so this lovely, warming risotto is a good option to use for a cheap, mid-week dinner.
Before I tell you any more about this dish and how wonderfully aromatic and tasty it is, I must first make my excuses for my lack of blogging recently. There will be 3 excuses; holiday, running and wedding cake. So firstly I have been having a jolly good old time in Northern Italy. Whilst I haven’t been cooking on my holiday I have been taking note of all the marvellous food in all the lovely traditional Italian restaurants over there; and when I say taking note I mean stuffing my face and choosing at least 4 courses off the menu for 10 days straight. Ben and I also took some time to visit a local vineyard and educate ourselves on the local wine production; and when I say educate I mean tasting all the different wines in the winery and drinking at least one bottle of red with each and every meal. It was an indulgent holiday to say the least.
So now that I have lots of new and tasty Italian dishes stored away in my head it’s time to get back to reality and concentrate on the next two important events in my life: running and wedding cake. Both are my other excuses for lack of blogging, although the running excuse is probably not that valid as I haven’t actually done as much training as I should have done. On Sunday I will be running the Manchester 10K. 10K!! I must be crazy!! Thankfully Ben is also running, along with a couple of other friends so there should be enough motivation and inspiration about to help get me through it. I’m not really what you would call a good runner – swimming is more my kind of thing, a nice gentle few lengths of front-crawl suits me down to the ground. When I do run the most I can usually manage is 5K, so this Sunday is going to be a challenge. However, I have done a bit of training (with each time wiping me out for the rest of the day) so with any luck it will be enough to get me over the finish line. I’m also being sponsored by friends and family for a local charity (Manchester Children’s Hospital), so hopefully I will raise a bit of cash and possibly enjoy myself as well?? Update to follow.
The next important event (and excuse): My sister’s wedding!
In June my little sister will be walking down the aisle (before me I might add – despite being the youngest she is very good at doing everything first 🙂 ). But Ben and I won’t be far behind as we’re planning a return trip to Italy next year when we hope to become Mr and Mrs – so exciting. Anyway, back to my sister’s wedding and why it’s down as my third excuse. I am extremely honoured that my Sister has asked me to make her wedding cake, I am also extremely scared. I have never made a tiered cake before and my only other cake skills are the Christmas cakes I have made over the last few years. So my cake experience is certainly lacking. However, my Sister seems to trust me enough to give this a go…….on her wedding day! Is she crazy?? – Time will tell I guess. The wedding is mid-June and so far I have managed to practice one tier of the cake, which included the icing, ribbons and icing-flower decorations. It actually went ok and I even managed to pull off a filling that kind of matched the coral-colour theme of the wedding (raspberry butter cream). It actually tasted pretty good as well and my Sister’s work friends confirmed this by devouring most of the cake, before 9am, the day after I had made it. I’ll take this as a positive and be optimistic for the making of the actual cake. I intend to make three tiers and hope that the stacking will go to plan on the day. Again update to follow – hopefully it won’t be an update of disaster.
Now that a) my holiday is over, b) the training for the 10k is pretty much done and c) the first wedding cake practice was a success, I can finally get back to some cooking and food photography. This being said I still have a day job to go to and lots of work to catch up on, so this risotto was the perfect dish to fit in with my busy days. As well as it being one of the more memorable meals we had in Italy I also found that when I came to reproduce the risotto at home it was also quite a simple dish. The risotto itself is just: risotto rice, finely chopped onion, white wine, chopped fresh rosemary, lemon juice and water. I baked the haddock separately then flaked and mixed in. I also served this with a side of green veggies just to give a boost of vitamins and minerals and of course to add a splash of colour.
This dish really provides the best welcome home after a long day and fills the house with the warming scent of rosemary. I love the way the risotto grains cling to the meaty chunks of fish and in every mouth full you can taste the full combination of ingredients….it’s just divine. Extra wedges of lemon and fresh Parmesan to serve really finishes off the dish nicely and I can assure you there will clean plates all around.
Aromatic Haddock and Rosemary Risotto
2 fillets of un-smoked skinless haddock
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Half onion finely chopped
200g risotto rice
200ml white wine
Water boiled in the kettle, to add as required
Handful of fresh rosemary with leaves removed from the stem and finely chopped
Salt and pepper to season
Parmesan and your choice of green veggies (tender stem broccoli and mange tout) to serve
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan). Place the haddock in the centre of a piece of foil, drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season. Loosely wrap the foil around the fish, place on a tray and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes or until just cooked (firm to the touch and solid white colour). Remove from the oven and leave wrapped in the foil to keep warm and to allow the cooking process to continue.
To make the risotto heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in large frying pan or wok. Turn the heat to medium-low and gently cook the onion until just see-through. Add the risotto rice and stir well ensuring all the grains are coated with olive oil, add more oil if required. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the wine, stir and bring to a simmer. The rice will absorb the wine quite quickly, so keep an eye on this. Once the wine has been absorbed; squeeze in the juice from half a lemon and add hot water from the kettle to just cover the rice. Bring to a simmer and then cover with a lid.
Check and stir the risotto every 5 minutes. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid and become stickier. When liquid has almost disappeared, top-up the risotto with more water from the kettle. Repeat this until the rice is cooked. Risotto rice should be al dente, so keep tasting the rice until you are happy with the texture.
Whilst you are cooking the risotto the green veggies can also be prepared, which I served up as a side dish: Bring a small frying pan of water to the boil then simmer and add the vegetables. Once cooked; plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process. When ready to serve, return to the pan of simmering water and heat for 1 minute. To give the veggies a slight shine add a drizzle of olive oil to the water, then drain and serve.
I like my risotto to have a pourable consistency, so once cooked; I usually remove from the heat and stir in a splash more water to loosen up the rice. Once you are happy with your consistency, season with salt to taste and then stir in the rosemary. Pop the lid back on the risotto to keep it warm.
To finish the risotto: Unwrap the fish, check it is cooked through and then use a knife and fork to gently flake each fillet into chunks. I went for quite small chunks but these can be larger if you prefer. Add the fish to the risotto and gently stir in.
Serve the Haddock and rosemary risotto along with extra wedges of lemon, parmesan and green veggies