There are many things that alert us to the arrival of Spring; the dainty pink flowers on the flowering currant bush in my garden, surprise appearances by tulips and crocus, and the frequent sighting of big, orange robins. There are two more things that assure me winter is behind us here in the Pacific Northwest, and that is the appearance of fresh Alaskan halibut and the seasons first asparagus. While the possibility of eating halibut and asparagus 5-7 times per week for a solid month thrills me beyond belief, Dave does not feel the same way. So, in an attempt to reach a bit of a compromise, I decided to “hide” the asparagus in a rich, creamy, cheesy risotto. I will be making this again! The combination of vegetables in this risotto is only limited by what’s available at the farmers market!
For the Risotto, inspired by this recipe
6 cups stock – I used organic chicken stock
2 Tablespoons of olive oil , plus Tablespoons of butter
1 large spring leek, washed and diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
10 stalks medium size asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 cup frozen petite peas
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 2 Tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in another saucepan. Cook the diced leek, stirring frequently, until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add rice, cook, stirring, until edges are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring, just until evaporated.
Add 1/2 cup hot stock; cook, stirring, until almost absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup stock in this manner until liquid is creamy and rice is al dente, about 20 minutes total (you may not need to add all the stock). Add asparagus with the last addition of stock, and the peas about 1 minute before risotto is done.
Remove from heat; stir in lemon zest and juice, parsley, cheese, and additional 2 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with additional cheese and lemon zest.
For the halibut
Heat the grill thoroughly. Oil the grated very well.
Season the halibut with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Grill flesh side down 5-7 minutes. Flip and grill an additional 5-7 minutes. Do not over cook this beautiful, delicate fish.
Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful evening.
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