Though asparagus is available all year long (usually from Peru), spring is really the season when it tastes best.
It starts showing up at farm stands in NJ in late April, and I can't get enough of it.
Produce just tastes better when it is in the season and locally grown.
Wild King salmon is the same deal.
It has a very short season here, and is pricey.
It's denser and drier than Atlantic salmon and is perfect in this recipe.
Risotto is a whole 'nother story.
It's a big pain in the butt.
I never understood the fascination with it.
It's rice. with a lot of liquid. it's creamy.
You have to stand over it and add hot stock, cup by cup, and keep stirring.
Don't answer the phone and make sure you have all of your ingredients out and ready to go.
Mise en place.
I have made this with wild mushrooms (cremini, shitake, oyster), but this time I used plain old white mushrooms, and they were just fine.
Regarding the rice: use a good Italian short grained Arborio rice, it will turn out lovely, and hopefully, not mushy.
Peas are also a lovely addition to this dish, and always remind me of spring.
So, let's think SPRING and maybe it will happen. Soon.
Risotto w/ Wild Salmon, Asparagus, Mushrooms & Peas: Serves 6
12 oz. of Wild King Salmon, skin removed and cut into small dice
3 shallots, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
4 cups of hot chicken broth/stock
1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
1 lb. wild mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. thin asparagus, woody stems trimmed, and cut on the bias into 1" pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
salt & pepper
1/3 cup good white wine (optional)
You will need 2 pans.
A small skillet for the mushrooms and asparagus and a large saute pan for the risotto.
In the small skillet, heat olive oil and saute mushroom slices and asparagus pieces on high for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In the other larger saute pan, heat olive oil and butter and cook shallots for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until well coated with oil. Reduce heat to low.
Add 1 cup of hot stock and stir briefly. Allow risotto to cook until the stock is absorbed by the rice before adding another cup of stock.
Once the liquid is absorbed, add your second cup of stock and continue to stir. Repeat this step 2 more times, 1 cup at a time, until all the stock is absorbed by the rice, about 20 minutes.
The rice will be creamy and look like rice pudding, but should not be mushy.
Now add your salmon cubes and cook for about a minute.
Add your defrosted peas, asparagus & mushrooms.
Don't feel the need to overcook the salmon, I promise it will cook in a minute with the heat of the rice.
Season well with salt and pepper and finish with 1/3 cup of good white wine (I use a Pinot Grigio).
Garnish with parsley and serve immediately in shallow bowls.