Salmon and spinach risotto with poached egg and herb cream recipe

Salmon and spinach risotto with poached egg and herb cream
Flakes of hot smoked salmon go brilliantly with the creamy sauce Credit: Haarala Hamilton

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Add the rice, making sure  it’s nicely glazed with the fat. Add the vermouth and let it bubble, stirring until it’s absorbed.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Cover with a lid while you quickly poach the eggs and reheat the herb cream. 
  9. Serve the risotto topped with an egg and spoon on the herb cream. Serve immediately.