This is definitely a rich dish, but an excellent one for a Sunday brunch (serve something simple like roast or poached fruit afterwards – keep it simple). It makes a good, luxurious Friday night supper as well.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 50 minutes
For the herb cream
- 15g butter
- 1 shallot, very finely chopped
- ½ tsp flour
- 175ml double cream
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
- ½ tbsp each parsley and chervil, finely chopped
- Leaves from 2 sprigs tarragon, chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
For the risotto
- 30g butter
- 1 large leek, washed and sliced
- 200g risotto rice
- 200ml dry vermouth
- 700ml chicken stock
- 125g baby spinach leaves
- 200g hot smoked salmon, broken into chunks, skin discarded
- 4 medium or small eggs
- Make the cream first – you can reheat it at the end. Melt the butter in a small pan and sauté the shallot until it softens. Stir in the flour for about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the cream.
- Return it to the heat and gently bring the cream to the boil. Turn the heat down, add the rest of the ingredients, and season.
- Let the cream simmer for a couple of minutes until the flavours of the herbs come through. Check for seasoning – you may want to add a little salt, lemon juice or mustard.
- For the risotto, melt half the butter in a saucepan. Add the leek and a splash of water. Cover and sweat for about 15 minutes (stirring occasionally).
- Add the rice, making sure it’s nicely glazed with the fat. Add the vermouth and let it bubble, stirring until it’s absorbed.
- Get your stock simmering and add it slowly, one ladle at a time. Make sure the liquid is fully absorbed before adding more. Stir constantly during this stage, which should take about 20 minutes. Use boiling water if you run out of stock.
- Stir in the spinach, which will wilt, then gently stir in the salmon – you don’t want it to break up too much. Check for seasoning and stir in the rest of the butter.
- Cover with a lid while you quickly poach the eggs and reheat the herb cream.
- Serve the risotto topped with an egg and spoon on the herb cream. Serve immediately.