Around the world in 80 dishes No. 41: Salmon with caipirinha risotto

Ingredients to serve 4

Generous 1 litre prawn or fish stock
70g unsalted butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Half a medium onion, finely diced
200g Arborio rice
4 skinless salmon fillets, 115g each
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Grated zest of 1 lime
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
75ml cachaça
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon crème fraîche


I like to incorporate the flavours of Brazil's national cocktail, Caipirinha, into other dishes, both sweet and savory. Salmon works splendidly with the sharp flavors of lime and cachaça in this warm and creamy risotto.

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the stock at a slow, steady simmer.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large casserole or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook while still stirring, until all the grains are coated with the onion and butter and the rice looks shiny, about 3 minutes.

Add one large ladle of simmering stock at a time. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Add another ladle, and keep cooking and stirring. Continue adding ladles of stock only when the previous has been completely absorbed. Keep the heat low because you'll prepare the salmon while the risotto is cooking.

Season the salmon filets on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the salmon top side down and cook for about 2 minutes on each side (if you like your salmon well done, cook it a little longer). Try to coordinate the cooking of the salmon with the risotto; the rice should be just a few minutes from being done by the time the fillets are finished.

The rice should be al dente and almost all of the liquid absorbed within 15 minutes of starting. Remove it from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the lime zest, juice, cachaça, and dill. Mix everything well with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining butter and crème fraîche. Add another tablespoon or so of stock if the risotto has absorbed all of its liquid. Spoon the risotto into warm bowls. Place the salmon on top and garnish with a sprig of dill and a drizzle of olive oil.

Taken from 'Cook Brazilian' by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz (Kyle Cathie, £19.99).