White Wine Risotto with Salmon

In a cooking magazine, this recipe would appear in the "reader recipes" department. My friend Doris, the "song of the birds on a clear and bright summer day's morning," shared this "sure to appear on your website" recipe with me - and there you have it: lemon-basil-marinated salmon cubes over tender, creamy white wine risotto - it doesn't get any yummier! I love it... hmmm...

Ingredients (to serve 3 to 4):

1 lb. salmon fillet
1/2 lemon, juice and peel
1/2 bunch of fresh basil
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 shallots
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons risotto rice (arborio or vialone)
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup cream
salt, white pepper
4 tablespoons parmesan

Tip: This is the original recipe. If you would like to cut down on fat, do what I always do: substitute half-and-half for the cream. The risotto will still turn out creamy and - as a German friend of mine put it in my guestbook - "out-of-this-world- and OH-MY-GOD!-yummy."

Preparation (about 40 minutes):

1. Cut up the salmon fillet into medium thick cubes (about thumb thick).

2. Wash the lemon, grate off the peel, and squeeze for juice. Cut up one half of the basil leaves into fine strips. Mix with the salmon cubes, pour over 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix gently, cover and place in refrigerator.

3. Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Peel and finely dice shallots. Put remaining olive oil into a heavy-bottom pot, add butter and melt. Put in shallots, stir for 2 minutes, at medium heat, add rice and mix with the fat until rice is covered with fat and heated up.

4. Add white wine and let evaporate while stirring constantly, add hot chicken stock gradually. Keep stirring constantly. Every time the stock has nearly been soaked up, add some more. Continue stirring at medium heat.

5. After about 20 minutes taste the rice. If it is somewhat soft on the outside and still a little hard on the inside, it's the perfect time to add the cream and a little salt and pepper. Let the mixture heat up. The rice should cook for about 25 minutes.

6. In the meantime, in a frying pan, gently heat the salmon cubes with the marinade. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

7. With the salt and pepper, season the risotto to taste, then stir in the parmesan (thus adding a little more salt!). Place the risotto on plates and top it with the salmon cubes. Sprinkle with remaining basil leaves (also cut into fine strips) and serve hot.

With a glass of well-chilled white wine and lots of candlelight, you're all set for a wonderfully romantic dinner ... enjoy!