NRS 13: Buckwheat and Smoked Salmon Risotto そばの実とスモークサーモンのリゾット

After a long hiatus, New Risotto Sunday returns! It has been a while since I have had the free time, not to mention the inclination to make a new risotto, but as I am currently unemployed and residing with my parents, I really have little better to do.

Today’s risotto was based on a package of buckwheat seeds that I bought at an omiyage stand in Oita two months ago. Along with a tin of saffron and a jar of yuzu-kosho, it was one of few foodstuffs I actually salvaged during my massive apartment cleanout in Japan. And I’m glad I did; the buckwheat was very nice in the risotto, lending a springy texture and mild nuttiness. Inspired by some buckwheat blinis with lox and creme fraiche I saw on TV, I rounded out the dish with salty flakes of smoked salmon and a dollop of tangy chevre.

Buckwheat and Smoked Salmon Risotto

1 cup whole buckwheat seeds
1/2 cup Arborio rice
about 6 cups chicken, seafood, or vegetable stock
about 10 cherry tomatoes
1/4 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
about 1 cup smoked salmon, flaked (don’t use lox, it’s too soft)
1 pinch saffron, crumbled (optional)
about 12 chives, chopped
about 1/4 cup chevre
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
olive oil, for sauteing
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Roast tomatoes, whole, using your preferred method of roasting. Remove and discard skin and reserve juice.
  2. Bring stock to a simmer.
  3. Heat about two tablespoons olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onions with salt and white pepper until onions are just translucent. Add rice and buckwheat to the pan and stir well to coat with oil. Increase heat and keep stirring to toast grains.
  4. When rice turns opaque, add saffron and half the lemon juice, then reduce heat back to medium.
  5. Add a ladleful of stock and cook, stirring often. When most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed, add more stock and continue stirring. Repeat this step several times until rice has nearly finished cooking.
  6. Add roasted tomatoes, chives, and remaining lemon juice, and cook until liquid is mostly gone.
  7. Add cheese, salmon, and a small amount of stock. Stir to melt cheese evenly. Garnish with pine nuts and chives and serve immediately.

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