Succulent Salmon and Creamy Lemon Risotto: A Perfect Pairing


This mouthwatering Seared Salmon with Lemon Risotto is a sophisticated and satisfying dish that will impress your guests or make for a romantic date night at home. The combination of a crispy seared salmon fillet and a velvety lemon-infused risotto is a match made in culinary heaven. With this simple recipe, you can effortlessly recreate a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen. The lemon risotto also doubles as a delectable side dish, perfectly complementing the succulent salmon.

Top Tips for Searing Salmon

Searing salmon to perfection is easier than you might think. Follow these tips to achieve a crisp exterior while keeping the interior tender and melt-in-your-mouth.

  • Allow the salmon to come to room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cooking. This ensures it doesn’t stick to the pan and reduces cooking time.
  • Use a non-stick pan for hassle-free cooking. Enjoy a crisp exterior without the stress of the salmon sticking to the pan. After all, dinner should be stress-free!
  • Lightly oil the salmon to promote a crispy texture without filling your kitchen with the smell of smoking oil.
  • Season the salmon with a light sprinkle of salt. Avoid adding pepper as the heat of the pan can cause the spice to burn.

The Perfect Lemon Risotto

When deciding on a side dish for your seared salmon, this lemon risotto is undoubtedly the best choice. It strikes the perfect balance between creamy richness and refreshing lemon flavor. Don’t limit yourself to serving this risotto solely with salmon; it pairs wonderfully with grilled chicken or seared shrimp as well!

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Top Tips for a Perfect Risotto

Making risotto may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite relaxing. Pour yourself a glass of wine, stand by the stove, and gently stir your risotto. It can be quite therapeutic. Consider these tips for achieving risotto perfection:

  • Use a risotto rice, such as arborio, which is readily available in most grocery stores.
  • You don’t need to add cream to your risotto. The creaminess comes from the frequent stirring of the rice and the addition of butter towards the end of cooking.
  • Remove the pan from the heat when allowing your risotto to rest, even after switching off the stove. The residual heat can negatively affect the texture.
  • The quality of your stock greatly impacts the flavor of your risotto. Opt for the best stock you can find, whether it’s homemade shrimp stock or store-bought fish, chicken, or vegetable stock.

Risotto rice being tipped out of a paper bag onto a wooden table

How to Make Lemon Risotto

Follow these steps to create a delectable lemon risotto that will elevate your dining experience:

  • Start by finely chopping an onion and some garlic. Finely chopped ingredients will meld into the risotto seamlessly.
  • Use a pan with a lid for crucial resting time. A high-sided skillet or sauté pan with a lid is ideal.
  • Soften the onion and garlic in olive oil. Be careful not to let them brown, as this can impart bitterness to the risotto.
  • Add arborio rice to the pan and cook it in the onion and oil mixture. The goal is to achieve a slightly translucent appearance on the outer layer of each grain.
  • If desired, add wine to the rice after it has cooked down. Alternatively, replace the wine with stock.
  • Gradually add your choice of broth or stock while stirring the risotto. This technique ensures even cooking and releases the starches from the rice, resulting in a wonderfully creamy texture.
  • Taste the rice after adding the stock. The grains should have a hint of firmness at the center.
  • Set the risotto aside once the stock has been absorbed, allowing you to focus on cooking the salmon.
  • For the finishing touch, add a final half cup of stock to the risotto and cook it over low heat to remove any residual firmness.
  • To infuse the risotto with an intense lemon flavor, incorporate lemon juice and plenty of zest. The zest adds incredible citrus notes without overwhelming sourness.
  • Beat all the ingredients together vigorously to achieve the desired creaminess. Use whatever utensil you have on hand; a wooden spoon with a hole was traditionally used.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and remove it from the heat. This allows the lemon risotto to rest for a couple of minutes, resulting in a beautifully flowing dish. (The aroma of lemon is irresistible!)
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Serving Suggestions

Pairing seared salmon with lemon risotto creates a satisfying meal on its own. However, consider adding a touch of green to complete the dish. Fresh peas or steamed asparagus, spritzed with a little lemon juice, make excellent accompaniments. Alternatively, indulge in a fresh green garden salad with a zesty lemon vinaigrette.

The Perfect Wine Pairing

When it comes to wine, a crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc or a floral Viognier is an excellent choice to complement the lemon-infused risotto and buttery salmon. For red wine enthusiasts, a light Valpolicella pairs well with the lemon and salmon. And, of course, a glass of dry sparkling wine always works wonders with one of my favorite dishes!


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

For more delicious risotto recipes, 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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