Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Honey and Balsamic Glazed Salmon on Minted Pea Puree with Spring Vegetable Risotto

             There is a common belief that the best accompaniment to fish is potato. Well, I wouldn’t dare to argue with this statement. If it wasn’t true, the English-favourite “fish’n’chips” wouldn’t have conquered the hearts of millions of people throughout the world. Yet, when it comes to such a delicate type of fish as salmon, I definitely prefer something more exquisite and subtle to go with it. I’ve recently discovered that there’s nothing better than a pea puree for putting a good accent on a refined taste of a beautifully cooked piece of this fish. 

            This time I’m making a nice glaze on my salmon, with some honey which is counterbalanced with mustard and balsamic vinegar. The puree that has got some sweetness from the peas as well, is surprisingly refreshing, with a good punch from fresh mint. I choose to make risotto as a side and to put as much vegetables in it as possible. Of course, it feels strange to cook risotto primavera in November but it turns to be a beautiful dish, with a delicate flavour of seasonal produce. Home-made sun-dried tomatoes leave a hint of sourness on a palate and contribute to a rich variety of colours on the plate. I can only ask all the fans of “fish’n’chips” to forgive me, but I will never ever prefer their favourite to my dish!


Glazed Salmon
4 pieces of salmon (about 150 gm each)
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and black pepper to taste

Pea Puree
20 gm butter
1 onion, finely chopped
400 gm peas
8 mint springs
100 ml heavy cream
salt and black pepper to taste

Spring Vegetable Risotto
100 gm Arborio rice
500 ml vegetable stock
100 ml white wine
20 gm butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
Ѕ carrot, cut into small cubes
1/3 green zucchini, cut into small cubes
1/3 yellow zucchini, cut into small cubes
18 asparagus spears, chopped (8 tips reserved)
25 gm parmesan, grated
salt and black pepper to taste

Sundried tomatoes
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
a few basil leaves
salt and black pepper to taste


  1. For sun-dried tomatoes, preheat the oven to 140C. Sprinkle tomato halves with salt and pepper and put in the oven for 1 hour.
  2. For glazed salmon, arrange the fillets in a baking dish. Make a marinade by combining honey, mustard and balsamic vinegar and seasoning it to taste. Pour half of it onto the salmon and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C. Brush salmon pieces with some more marinade, cover the baking dish with foil and put in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, brush with some more marinade and bake for 10 more minutes or until caramelized on top.
  4. For pea puree, heat butter in a pan and sauté the onion till translucent. Add peas and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool; then blend with mint leaves and cream till smooth. Season to taste.
  5. For spring vegetables risotto, bring vegetable stock to a boil and blanch asparagus tips for a minute. Remove the tips and leave the stock to simmer. In another pan, heat butter together with olive oil and sauté onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add rice and cook it for a couple of minutes or until it becomes almost translucent. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate. Start adding the stock, one ladleful at a time (don’t add a new portion of stock till the previous one is almost fully absorbed). In 12 minutes, stir in celery, carrot and zucchini. 3 minutes later stir in the chopped asparagus pieces and taste the rice. If it’s still too dense, continue to cook for a couple minutes more. As soon as it tastes al dente, remove it from heat, stir in the parmesan, cover with a lid and leave for 1 minute.
  6. To serve, place some pea puree on a plate and top it with a piece of salmon. Using a mould, arrange risotto on a side and top it with blanched asparagus spears. Put sun-dried tomatoes on the plate and garnish with basil leaves.


  1. You can store your home-made sun-dried tomatoes in a jar, filled with olive oil. They keep well for quite long.
  2. Personally I love to have a lot of mint in my pea puree. If you are not a big fan of this herb, put twice as less, then taste and decide whether you want to go for more.
  3. Don’t wash your rice before cooking risotto. Arborio is excellent for risotto preparations because it starchy and helps to achieve a creamy consistency of the dish. So, make sure not to wash that starch out!

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