As you can probably tell, I’m more than a little enamored with asparagus right now. We didn’t have a traditional Easter dinner this year, but I wanted to make this risotto recipe that I hadn’t made in years. I love using the fresh asparagus because right now it’s in peak season, which means not only does it taste best right now, it’s very economical, as well.
It was also great to be able to use one of +Cher Chang‘s Meyer lemons that came fresh from her lemon tree! Delicious! I cannot wait for our baby lemon tree to bear fruit! I was able to use all fresh herbs from the garden and that makes me very happy!
First, warm the stock in a separate saucepan and set aside a ladle–you’ll use this to add the stock to the risotto. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan and sauté the onion, garlic and celery for about four minutes. Then add the rice to the pan and sauté to coat with the oil. After about two minutes, add two ladlefuls of the stock to the rice mixture. Stir constantly until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add the stock little by little, making sure that between each ladleful, the liquid is mostly absorbed. After about 10 minutes of cooking, add the chopped herbs, lemon zest and the asparagus. I made a last minute addition of sliced mushrooms and frozen green peas to the mix because it just seemed like a good thing to do (and it was)! Continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so, or until the rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper (to taste). Add the lemon juice and parmesan cheese at the end. Be careful not to let the mixture become dry. If it does, just add more stock or other liquid. I actually added a little white wine to it after I ran out of stock.
I also made this great cedar planked grilled salmon to go with it. If you’ve never grilled salmon on a cedar plank, you should definitely try it! It’s a very easy way to add wonderful, smoky flavor to salmon (or any other fish for that matter) without having to go through the trouble of using an actual smoker. Cedar planks are easily found in the grocery store these days, but I ordered a package of Cedar Grilling Planks in bulk from Amazon for a great price.
All you have to do is soak these planks in water for about an hour prior to grilling. Preheat your grill to about 375 to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Place the fish on the cedar plank and season to your liking. I used salt, pepper, ancho chili powder and a squeeze of lemon juice. Set the plank directly on the grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Here’s a tip: don’t put the fish on the grill and then try to take photos of the risotto and forget about how long the fish has been cooking, thus overcooking the fish! Yes, this happened, but it was still really, really, good!
Incidentally, this was a wild caught coho salmon. It was less expensive than the wild caught Alaskan King Salmon, but had a mild flavor that I really loved.