Recipe: Dean Brettschneider’s Smoked Salmon, Asparagus and Dill Risotto

Learn the secret to making the perfect risotto with this delicious dish from Dean Brettschneider.

Extract from Cook: Food to Share by Dean Brettschneider

Whilst the flavours of this dish are superb, the key to any risotto is to get the base right and for the rice grains to remain al dente all the way to the plate. Follow this recipe closely, and once you have perfected the fundamentals, go ahead and add any of your favourite flavours and ingredients. Just remember to keep on stirring!

Serves 8


1.5 litres (48 fl oz) vegetable stock
10 spears asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
400 g (141/3 oz) Arborio rice
220 ml (7 fl oz) white wine
45 g (11/2 oz) butter
115 g (41/5 oz) mascarpone cheese
salt, to taste
ground white pepper, to taste
300 g (11 oz) smoked salmon
1 lemon, grated for zest
4 sprigs dill, chopped

Crispy capers:
200 ml (63/4 fl oz) olive oil
2 tbsp capers


Prepare the crispy capers. Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the capers and fry for about 2 minutes until the capers are crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.

Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Lower the heat and keep the stock hot. Trim and discard the woody end of the asparagus spears, then cut each spear into 3–4 pieces. Boil a small saucepan of water and blanch the asparagus for 1–2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl of iced water to cool. Drain. Separate the tips from the stems and set aside.

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Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and gently sweat without browning. Add the rice and cook for 2–3 minutes until it crackles. Add the white wine and cook until it is absorbed by the rice. Gradually add the hot vegetable stock, a ladleful at a time, making sure that the stock has been absorbed before adding more. Keep the heat at medium or low so the rice cooks as it absorbs the stock. When all the stock has been added, the rice should be cooked al dente.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and mascarpone cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chop half the smoked salmon and add to the risotto. Add the asparagus stems and lemon zest. Stir gently to mix.

Spoon onto serving plates and garnish with the remaining slices of smoked salmon, asparagus tips, dill and crispy capers.

Extract from Cook: Food to Share by Dean Brettschneider, Helen Burge, and Jenna White, Bateman Books, RRP $39.99

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