Poached salmon and prawns are added to a creamy risotto in this delicious easy salmon and prawn risotto. It makes a great fish dinner.
The optional addition of smoked salmon adds extra glamour to the dish which would make a great starter or main course at a dinner party.
This is the first risotto I have made using fish and I was really happy with just how good it turned out. The prawns are a low fat and counterbalance the oilier salmon which teams perfectly with the starchy rice. I found that I did not have to add as much butter or cheese as I normally add to get the rich flavour of a good risotto, making it a healthier option too.
Easy salmon risotto
I think risotto has an unfair reputation for being a bit tricky - it really isn’t. Just take care not to overcook the rice, it should still have some bite. Overcooked risotto tends to be a bit stodgy.
The method is fairly straightforward and just requires frequent stirring as the stock is added gradually as the rice is cooks and is absorbed before adding more.
It doesn't need constant stirring but it is not a dish that you can run off and do other things while it is left to its own devices.
You will get the best results if the stock you add to the risotto is hot. Hot stock helps to release the rice’s starch and ensures even, cooking resulting in a creamier tasting dish.
Have the stock gently simmering in a small pan as you cook the risotto.
Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?
Because overcooked risotto is stodgy it is not a good idea to fully precook ahead of time. Also from a food safety point of view, it is not a good idea to reheat fish and prawns more than once.
But if you know time is going to be short at the time you want to serve this dish, you can get around it by par-cooking the risotto ahead of time. This is how a restaurant can cook a risotto for you and have it on the table in around 10 minutes.
To par-cook, cook the rice until it is just beginning to soften but still tastes a little chalky to the bite. Then cool as quickly as possible. A good way to do this is to tip the rice out onto a baking tray and spread out in a thin layer.
As soon as the risotto is cold, pack into a container, cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To finish, tip the part cooked rice into a pan, add a little stock and heat gently. Once hot add the fish and prawns and continue adding more hot stock until the rice is cooked completely. Depending on how far you cooked the rice the first time it should not take longer than about 5-10 minutes.
Family fish dinner or dinner party dish?
The choice is up to you. As an everyday family dinner, I would leave off the smoked salmon but keep it when serving at a dinner party. The quantity here serves 3 – 4 as a main dish and 4 – 6 as a starter.
Do I have to use wine to make the risotto?
for this version, I highly recommend you do. It’s hard to say exactly what flavours it brings to the end result but without it it’s just not quite the same. If you are concerned about the alcohol when serving as a family dish, remember that this is driven off during the cooking.
A glass of dry white wine is also the perfect drink to serve with it; for those old enough of course!
If you prefer not to have any alcohol then the wine may be omitted and replaced with additional stock instead just bare in mind the flavour will not be quite the same.
The prawns were added as a treat for Mr B as sadly I cannot eat them so he rarely gets them at home. Other additions that work well with the salmon in place of the prawns would be peas or blanched broccoli florets.
You need to choose a fish with plenty of flavour to stand out from the rice. Smoked haddock or smoked mackerel would also work well in place of the salmon (no need to poach the smoked mackerel first).
I’ve opted for parsley as my herb of choice but you could also add some chopped fresh dill or chopped fresh mint.
What went wrong?
If your risotto is thin, you either added too much stock or your risotto simply isn't finished cooking. If the rice is fully cooked tip the pan so the excess liquid runs into pool and spoon off and discard.
If your risotto is crunchy or grainy, then you simply need to add a little more stock and cook for longer stirring until the liquid has absorbed, the risotto has thickened up and your rice is cooked until just tender.
If your risotto doesn’t have much flavour this could be down to the quality of the fish (buy the best you can) or how flavourful your stock is. You can ramp up the flavour a little if need be with some additional seasoning, herbs or stir in some cream or grated cheese.
How to Make Salmon and Prawn Risotto Step by Step
Salmon and Prawn Risotto
- 350 g salmon fillets
- 50 g butter
- 1 medium shallot or ½ mild onion, chopped
- 400 g Arborio rice
- 150 ml dry white wine
- About 1 litre hot vegetable or fish stock
- 75 g prawns
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- lemon wedges to squeeze
- chopped fresh parsley
- 2-3 slices smoked salmon cut into thin strips (optional)
- Take a pan big enough to take350g (12oz) salmon fillets in a single layer and fill to about 2cm (1in) depth with boiling water. Place the salmon in the water and poach for 10 minutes, then cover and remove from the heat and set aside.
- Melt 25g (1oz) butter in a large pan and sauté 1 chopped shallot for about 5 minutes until softened.
- Stir in 400g (14oz) rice and cook stirring for a minute or two and then stir in 150ml (¼pt) white wine. Cook until the wine has been absorbed.
- Now remove the salmon from the poaching liquid and make up to 1¼ litres (2¼pts) with stock. Transfer to pan and place over a low heat to keep the stock warm.
- Add the stock to the rice a ladleful at a time. Cook over a low heat stirring until the stock has been absorbed before adding another ladleful. Continue cooking until you have added most of the stock and the rice is almost tender.
- Flake the poached salmon into the pan in large chunks, discarding any skin and bones. Then add 75g (3oz) prawns and the remaining stock. Cook gently stirring until the last of the stock has been absorbed and the fish and prawns are piping hot.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 25g (1oz) butter. Cover and allow to stand for 2 minutes. Taste and season as required.
- Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley and a drizzle of lemon juice. Top with smoked salmon if using
- The stock should be hot when added. Have the stock gently simmering in a small pan.
- Take your time – Add the stock a ladle full at a time and cook until the stock has been absorbed before adding more. Stir frequently.
- Do not add the prawns too early or they will become tough if overcooked.