When I first moved to Cambridge I got a temporary job in the University’s faculty of education. It was a pretty nice place to work – a spanking new building with a great on-site cafe! And my colleagues were a decent bunch too. There was another woman temping there at the same time, and we became friends. It was she who introduced me to the idea of putting smoked mackerel into a risotto. If you’re reading this – thanks Millie!
Unfortunately, shortly thereafter she moved to London, and although we stayed in touch for a while, I haven’t heard from her for years. I really ought to look her up on Facebook or something.
Meanwhile, a bloke I met on the internet and dated briefly umpteen years ago, I’m still in touch with, despite us a) living in different countries, and b) both having settled down and had children with other people. This week he came to visit us, as he was giving a talk at the university here.
And – and here’s the bit where these two random stories collide – I made the smoked mackerel risotto for dinner while he was visiting. Having made it, I had a minor panic that he wouldn’t like it, but in fact it went down so well that he ate the last cold spoonful directly out of the pan, to save me throwing it out. So I’d say he enjoyed it. Either that or he’s the most polite person ever born. And I’m pretty sure that he isn’t (no offence meant, if you’re reading this).
Kipper also polished off a fair amount, but she loves smoked fish in any guise, so I wasn’t very surprised.
I use the peppered smoked mackerel because I think it’s extra-tasty, but if you prefer your fish less peppery, then by all means use the plain smoked mackerel. Or you could go all out and get the one with bits of chilli on it. Whatever floats your boat 🙂
This makes 2-3 servings of smoked mackerel risotto.
- 3 medium leeks (approx. 400g)
- 2 tsbp olive oil
- 150g arborio rice (or other risotto rice)
- 500ml hot vegetable stock
- 2 peppered smoked mackerel fillets (200-250g)
- 1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 lemon - juice and zest
- Trim and wash the leeks and cut into 6-8mm slices.
- Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large heavy-based pan. Add the leeks and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour on about half of the stock, stir well, and simmer, partly covered, until the stock is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
- Add half of the remaining stock, and stir well. Continue to simmer and add the remaining stock. The rice should be cooked when all the stock is absorbed - after 18-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the skin and any bones from the smoked mackerel, and break the flesh into chunky pieces.
- Once the rice is cooked, gently stir in the mackerel pieces, the chopped parsley, and the zest of the lemon. Add half the lemon juice, taste, and add the remaining juice as required.
- Serve with a wedge of lemon.