This Seared Salmon with Lemon Risotto is an elegant main course perfect for entertaining or if you are spending date night at home.
A creamy risotto and a crispy seared salmon fillet, all coming together with plenty of lemon, parsley and black pepper.
With this simple recipe you can create this restaurant quality dish easily at home. The lemon risotto makes a great rice side dish for the succulent salmon.
Pan searing is such a great way to cook salmon. The exterior gets all crisp whilst the inside remains soft, tender and melt in the mouth. And this salmon risotto is no exception. Perfectly cooked salmon served on a bed of risotto rice. DELICIOUS!! (Seriously I am salivating whilst I write this!)
Top tips for searing salmon.
- Remove the salmon from the fridge for at least 15 minutes before you want to cook it. This ensures it isn’t cold when it goes into the pan. making it less likely to stick and also keeping the cooking time down.
- Use a non-stick pan. It really does make all the difference. You can get a crisp exterior without the worry and stress of your salmon sticking. It is just dinner…we don’t need stress.
- Lightly oil the salmon, this will make it easier to crisp it up, without filling your kitchen with the smell of smoking oil.
- Season your salmon lightly with salt, but don’t add any pepper as the heat of the fry pan will burn the spice.
This lemon risotto is the perfect dish for when you are asking what side do I serve with my seared salmon. Well this is the best rice dish to serve with salmon. It is creamy and rich yet fresh and packed with lemon flavor.
You could also serve this lemon risotto with grilled chicken or seared shrimp!!!
Top tips for a Perfect Risotto
Making risotto isn’t as scary as many people think. It is a relaxing job of stirring. Pour a glass of wine, stand by the stove and gently stir your risotto. It can be quite therapeutic.
A few tips for the perfect risotto.
- Ensure you use a risotto rice, the most common is arborio and it can be found in all grocery stores.
- Risotto doesn’t need cream, the creamy texture comes from the frequent stirring of the rice and the beating in of butter at the end of the cooking time.
- When you leave your risotto to rest, make sure you take the pan off the hob (even after it is switched off) the residual heat of the hob can easily spoil your risotto.
- The quality of your risotto comes from the quality of your stock, use the best you can.
How to make Lemon Risotto
- Start with a finely chop onion and some garlic. You want these finely chopped so they melt into the risotto
- Use a pan that has a lid. The resting of the risotto is vital so a lid is a must. If you have a choice of pans you ideally want a high sided skillet or sauté pan (with a lid).
- The garlic and onion are cooked in olive oil so they become nice and soft, again to help them melt into your risotto rice. Don’t allow them to color as they will stain the final risotto and can add bitterness.
- Once the onions are cooked add in the arborio rice and cook it in the onion and oil mixture. Your aim is for the outside of each grain to start to get a sort of glass like look to it.
- At this point you can add in your wine. (If you prefer to leave out the wine then you can just replace it with stock.)
- Once the wine has evaporated you can start adding your broth/stock.
- The quality of your stock is so important here, the whole dish will take on the flavor of this broth/stock, so the best flavored broth/stock will give you the best flavoured risotto.
- I like to use my own Homemade Shrimp Stock, it is so packed full of seafood flavor. But you can use Fish/Chicken/Vegetable stock/broth.
- You want to add the stock slowly and stir the risotto whilst you are adding the stock. This stiring ensures all the grains are cooked evenly and also releases the starches from the rice, this is what starts to creates the wonderful creamy texture of the risotto.
- Once you have added your stock/broth taste your rice, there should be the slightest hint of chalky inside to the grains.
- At this point the risotto can be set to one side whilst you cook the salmon.
- Once the salmon has been seared you can finish the lemon risotto.
- To do this add a last 1/2 cup of stock to the risotto and cook over a low heat, this should remove the last edge of chalkiness from your rice.
- To get the lemon flavor into the risotto we are going to use some lemon juice and plenty of lemon zest. The zest is what gives wonderful lemon flavor without adding sourness.
- The lemon juice, lemon zest and butter are added and then you need to really beat this all together. The beating motion is what gives you a wonderfully creamy risotto. Traditionally a wooden spoon with a hole was used, but use whatever utensil you have to get the job done.
- Place the lid on and remove the pan from the hob. This allows the lemon risotto to settle for a couple of minute and flow wonderfully when you serve it. (This is when I call people to the table…it doesn’t take much the smell of lemon is like a calling siren!)
What to serve with Risotto
Adding the seared salmon to the lemon risotto almost turns this into a meal in itself, but to finish it off I like to serve it with something green. This is either a bowl of fresh peas or some steamed asparagus, both given a quick spritz of lemon juice as you serve. Or my favorite is a fresh green garden salad with a lemon vinaigrette.
When it comes to wine with this Seared Salmon and lemon risotto, I like to pick a crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc or a florally Viognier. Both can stand up to the lemon as it has been tempered by the creaminess of the rice and both work well with the buttery salmon.
For red lovers a light Valpolicella will work well with the lemon and the salmon.
And as with so many of my favorite dishes, a glass of dry sparkling wine also works!
For more Salmon Recipes:
- Seared Salmon with Peas and Chorizo
- Creamy Lemon Salmon Pasta
- Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Smashed Potatoes
- Sushi Bowl with Salmon, Avocado and Lychee Salsa
- Smoky Blackened Salmon Soft Tacos
And for more delicious risotto recipe check out:
- Beets risotto with Ricotto (this is a very special post for me)
- Saffron risotto with charred leeks
- Sausage and Rosemary Risotto
- Easy Squash Risotto With Thyme (Inside a Rustic Kitchen)
- Mushroom Risotto (I Just Make Sandwiches)
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Seared Salmon with Lemon Risotto
For the risotto
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups arborio risotto rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 cups hot vegetable/fish/shrimp stock see notes
For the salmon
- 4 fillets salmon I prefer skin off for this dish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
To finish and serve
- 2 lemons
- 3 tbsp butter
- Freshly chopped parsley
- black pepper
For the risotto
- Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic.
- Heat the oil in a heavy based pan or skillet.
- Add the garlic and onion and sauté over a medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes or until softened but not colored.
- Turn heat up to high, add in the rice and stir until the grains look almost glassy.
- Add wine and cook for 2 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.
- Turn heat down to medium low. Add 1/2 cup of stock and stir slowly until absorbed.
- Repeat until you have used 3 1/2 cups of stock.
- Check the rice, it should be cooked through but still firm rather than stodgy and almost cooked.
- Remove the rice from the heat whilst you cook the salmon.
To cook the salmon.
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan.
- Season the salmon generously with salt.
- Cook the salmon for 3 minutes then turn and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and tent with foil whilst you finish the risotto.
To finish and serve
- Once the salmon is cooked. Add the remaining stock to the risotto and stir over a gentle heat.
- Add in the butter, and the juice of one lemon and zest of 2 lemons.
- Stir vigorously to create a luscious creamy risotto.
- Spoon out the risotto and top with the cooked salmon, plenty of fresh parsley and a good grinding of black pepper.