Creamy pearl barley risotto with smoked garlic, asparagus & quick cured salmon

Creamy pearl barley risotto with smoked garlic, asparagus & quick cured salmon

By
From
Lagom
Serves
4
Photographer
Yuki Sugiura

Pearl barley can run the risk of giving a dish a slightly woolly taste if you aren’t careful. However, in a risotto, I find it takes on other flavours really well, while adding both bite and depth. I have topped this one with a quick cured salmon, for those who don’t have the patience to go through a full curing process. It is also great for smaller amounts of fish, as a whole cured salmon can be tricky to get through if you aren’t throwing a big party.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
300g pearl barley
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
200g sushi-grade salmon fillet, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
ground white pepper
1 lime, zested and juiced
300ml half-fat creme fraiche
3 smoked garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
100g asparagus tips, cut into chunks
1 small bunch dill
parmesan cheese, shaved, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook until soft over a low heat without colouring, about 10 minutes. Stir in the pearl barley and pour in the stock. Simmer for 30–45 minutes (depending on your barley), stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are soft with just a little bite.
  2. While the pearl barley is cooking, arrange the salmon slices on a large plate, touching but overlapping as little as possible. Mix the sugar, 2 teaspoons sea salt, a good grind of white pepper and the lime zest and juice together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the salmon then cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  3. Pour the crème fraîche into a small saucepan with the garlic. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  4. Blitz the garlic cream in a blender until smooth, then pour into the barley. Heat, stirring constantly, until thick and oozy.
  5. Steam the asparagus until just tender, then stir all but a few tips through the pearl barley, along with most of the dill, reserving a few stalks for garnishing. Spoon the risotto into bowls, top with a few slices of salmon and the remaining asparagus tips. Sprinkle over a little dill and some Parmesan.

Note: quick cured salmon ideas

  • You could also serve this salmon on little pieces of rye or crispbread with lemon and dill for a pre-dinner nibble, stirred through creamy pasta, or given a starring role in a peppery rocket salad with a mustardy vinaigrette.
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