Smoked Salmon with Saffron and Leek Risotto

Though tempting, it is not traditional to serve parmesan with fish risotto or pasta-it is said to detract from the delicate flavor. However, it’s a free world!


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. medium leeks, thinly sliced, well washed, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ cups risotto rice, such as arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano
  • 1 ¼ cups well-flavored fish stock
  • 8 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
  • ¼ cup sour cream or crème fraiche (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fried Leeks

  • 2 leeks, cut into 2-inch lengths, halved lengthwise, opened out and cut into long shreds peanut oil, for frying


1.  Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the leeks and sauté until beginning to soften and color slightly. Stir in the garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Add the rice and stir until well coated with oil and heated through. Pour in the wine and boil over medium heat until completely evaporated. Stir in the saffron.

2.  Add the stock, 1 large ladle at a time, stirring until each has been absorbed by the rice. Continue until the rice is tender and creamy, but the grains still firm. Gently fold in the smoked salmon and sour cream or crème fraiche, if using. Season well, then cover and let rest for 1 minute before serving in warm bowls with froth of fried leek on top.

3.  To fry the leeks, half-fill a small saucepan with peanut oil and heat until a small cube of bread will brown in about 30 seconds. Add the leek and fry until brown and crisp. Remove and drain on crumpled paper towels.

Serves 4