Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Salmon w/ Basil Risotto and Lemon Beurre Blanc

Lee had a work meeting last week, so dinner was on my own. Since she doesn't like fish, I figured it was an excellent opportunity to make this salmon idea I had for the past couple weeks. Since I also got my awesome SousVide Supreme demo unit, I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to use it. I cooked this piece of salmon sous-vide for an hour at 140 degree Fahrenheit, because I wanted it to be pasteurized. I buy these salmon fillets frozen and since they aren't the freshest of quality, I figured pasteurizing them would be best (they are still delicious!). I was really thrilled with how this dish turned out, all the flavors really blended well and the Beurre Blanc sauce was just so creamy, with a little tang at the end from the lemon. The plate was lacking a little color so I wasn't thrilled with the presentation, but whatever....it was just for me :)


Basil Risotto
  • 3 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice 
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dry white wine
Lemon Beurre Blanc
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces white wine
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Salmon Fillets
  • 4 Salmon Fillets
  • 4 lemon slices 
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste

**Note: You don't have to cook the salmon sous-vide, you can cook it any method you'd like. You can simply sautee them in a pan with some butter, lemon juice and the thyme sprigs.**


If cooking sous-vide, first season both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper. Place each fillet in its own vacuum seal bag and top with a slice of lemon and sprig of thyme. Vacuum seal the bags and place in a water bath set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (108 degree for rare, 122 degree for medium rare). Sous-vide the fillets for at least  an hour. If not cooking sous-vide, cook the salmon fillets right before the risotto is almost done. 

Combine the shallots, white wine, and lemon juice in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat and reduce to 2 tablespoons.

Add the cream to the reduction. Once the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low. Add the butter, one cube at a time, whisking first on the heat and then off the heat. Continue whisking the butter into the reduction until the mixture is fully emulsified and has reached a rich sauce consistency. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, season with salt, pepper and lemon zest. Store in a thermos until ready to serve.

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, bring the chicken stock to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat to maintain the simmer. Meanwhile in a food processor, pulse the basil, garlic and 1 teaspoon of olive oil until coarsely chopped. Add in cheese and pulse until finely grounded. 

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and the butter to a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat; when hot add the shallots and stir often until limp, about 2 minutes. Add the arborio rice to the shallots, stir often until the beginning to turn opaque, about 2 minutes. 

Once the rice is opaque, add in the wine and stir until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until almost absorbed. This process should take about 25-30 minutes, give it some love! Once all the chicken stock has been added and absorbed, stir in the basil mixture and cook, stirring often, until rice is barely tender to bite and creamy, about 2 minutes. If risotto is thicker than desired, stir in a in more stock. Ladle the Basil Risotto onto the center of a plate, top with the salmon fillet and drizzle the lemon Beurre Blanc all over, enjoy!

Kitchen Word of the Day

Beurre blanc —literally translated from French as "white butter"— is a hot emulsified butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and/or white wine (normally Muscadet) and grey shallots into which cold, whole butter is blended off the heat to prevent separation. The small amounts of lecithin and other emulsifiers naturally found in butter are used to form an oil-in-water emulsion. Although similar to hollandaise in concept, it is not considered either a classic leading or compound sauce. This sauce originates in Loire Valley cuisine.

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