Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pan Roasted Wild Salmon with Roasted Carrots and Carrot Risotto

We’ve been eating a lot of carrots recently, usually roasted and tossed together in a salad. The salad is a variation of a roasted carrot salad from last summer that you can find in the archives (9/24/14).
But with some leftover carrots hanging around I decided to roast them and serve them with some wild Sockeye salmon and a carrot risotto using carrot juice instead of a vegetable or chicken stock. Most stores have fresh carrot juice on hand.
Vegetarians can just make the risotto, chopping and folding the carrots into the risotto at the end.
You don’t even have to use salmon. It would work perfectly well with chicken or pork tenderloin.
For the carrots, I have found bunches of smaller-sized organic carrots (with tops attached) which work perfectly while we wait for locally grown carrots to appear at the farmer’s market. Use any carrot as long as they are cut to a uniform thickness to assure even cooking. I season the carrots with some ground coriander seed, which has a bright, lemony flavor. Ground cumin seed would work too.
The risotto technique may seem radical but it works perfectly and it cuts down on stirring. You still need to stir the rice occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan as well as to look to make sure the risotto is cooking at a gentle simmer. But in terms of standard risotto technique this is fairly low maintenance.
To strategize your cooking, roast the carrots first and set them aside. Prepare the risotto and set it aside unfinished. Cook the salmon. While the salmon is cooking, finish the risotto as directed. Warm the carrots in the oven when the salmon goes into the oven.
This makes for a very orange plate. Hail beta-carotene.

Pan Roasted Wild Salmon with Roasted Carrots and Carrot Risotto
For two servings

Two 4 to 6 ounce portions of salmon
Salt and ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon

Roasted Carrots
1 bunch of carrots (about 8 to 10 small-sized carrots or 4 or 5 regular-sized carrots.)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
salt and ground black pepper
2 to 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Clean the carrots under cold water and scrub them with a soft bristled brush; they don’t need to be peeled. If they have tops, remove tem and trim the bottom of the carrots. Slice the carrots in half lengthwise. If you are using larger carrots, halve them lengthwise. You might have to cut the carrot in half, crosswise.  If the top half of the carrot is thicker than the bottom half, slice the thicker part into quarters. You want to have 16 to 20 pieces of carrot when you are finished.
2. Place the carrots into a bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with the ground coriander, sugar, salt, and ground black pepper. Toss the carrots together to distribute the seasonings. Lay the carrots in an even layer on a foil-lined baking tray. Place the carrots into the oven and roast for 16 minutes. Remove the carrots from the oven and carefully turn them over and return the carrots to the oven to roast for an additional 6- 8 minutes until the carrots are tender; a knife point should easily pierce the carrots. Using the aluminum foil on the tray, wrap the carrots and set aside.

Carrot Risotto
Usually white wine is the first liquid added to a risotto before the addition of stock. I omitted that step for this recipe. You could certainly use white wine. Just alter the first addition of liquid to be read “1/4 cup white wine, followed by ¾ cup carrot juice.” The white wine isn’t really necessary in this risotto. Since this technique will work for any risotto, you might find yourself wishing to include the wine when making a different risotto.
If you have a timer handy, it will help with monitoring the cooking time.

For 2 servings
½ cup Arborio rice
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups carrot juice
2 to 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 to 2 teaspoons minced chives
1. Place the carrot juice into a saucepan and warm it over medium high heat.  Place a second pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in the olive oil; add the shallots and sauté the shallots to soften, about a minute. Add the rice and stir the rice into the shallots and oil. Add 1 cup of the hot carrot juice to the rice and stir together. Season with some salt then cover the pot and lower the heat. The rice should simmer throughout cooking. Occasionally stir the rice to prevent it from sticking, looking to see that the risotto is cooking gently. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until almost all of the carrot juice has been absorbed. (At this point the risotto can be put aside and finished later).
2. Taste the rice for tenderness: If there are any “crunchy bits” in the center of the rice, it needs to cook longer. To finish the risotto, place the pot over medium-high heat. Add more carrot juice, stir and continue cooking until the rice is cooked through but is still has a toothsome bite to it. When the rice is al dente, taste for seasoning, adding additional salt if needed, some ground black pepper, the cheese, and butter plus the chives.  You can add some more stock depending on whether you like your risotto creamy or “tight.” Stir everything together. Turn off the heat, cover and let the risotto stand for about 2 minutes before serving.

Pan Roasted Wild Salmon
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Season the salmon with some salt and ground black pepper. Heat a non-stick sauté pan over high heat. When hot, swirl in a little olive oil. Carefully place the salmon into the pan, skin side up. Cook the salmon for about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish (a 1” thick fillet will take about 10 minutes total cooking time for well done, so adjust the cooking time to the thickness of your fish and your preferred degree of doneness). Turn the salmon and place it into the oven to finish cooking, about 3 to 4 minutes). Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Remove the salmon from the pan and place it skin-side up onto a paper towel lined plate. If the skin is on the fish and you wish to remove it, it will easily peel off the fillet.
To serve, divide the risotto between two plates. Top the risotto with some roasted carrots, then the salmon and the last of the carrots. Gloss the salmon with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.


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