In summer there is ample choice of fresh produce to choose from, but in winter we have to make do with what is available, especially if you want to cook with local seasonal ingredients. Fresh peas are only available in summer, but dried split peas are available year round. In the Netherlands they are used to make a very popular hearty soep: erwtensoep. I thought it would be fun to make something else with split peas. As the peas work well with smoked pork sausage (rookworst) in the soup, I came up with split pea risotto with hot smoked salmon. The combination worked out very well, although I should have used only half of the peas. The recipe below has already been corrected for this. It should be clear that this is not an authentic Italian dish, but something out of my imagination. It was delicious anyway. Here’s what I did…
For 2 servings as a main course
130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice such as Carnaroli
130 grams (2/3 cup) split peas
300 grams (.66 lb) salmon fillet, skin removed
1 Tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest, for garnish
1 small onion, minced
3 Tbsp butter, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper
60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
750 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock, made using carrot, onion, and celery
2 Tbsp smoking dust
Season the salmon fillet with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Allow the salt to penetrate the fish while you prepare the peas.
Rinse the split peas with water and drain. Put them in a pressure cooker or stock pot with the vegetable stock. Pressure cook for 30 minutes or boil for 1 hour.
The peas are ready when they fall apart.
Meanwhile, prepare a tabletop smoker with 2 tablespoons of smoking dust.
Put the salmon in the smoker, so everything is ready to light the smoker later.
Sauté the minced onion in 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a wide thick bottomed pan until translucent.
Add the rice and toast the rice over medium heat until the rice is hot.
Add the white wine, and stir until the wine has evaporated.
Now add a ladle of the pea and stock mixture. Season with salt.
Stir until the liquid has been absorbed, then add another ladle of the pea mixture.
Keep stirring and adding more of the pea mixture until you have used up all of the mixture and the rice is tender but firm to the bite, about 18 minutes.
Light the smoker. The salmon needs to be smoked for about 15 minutes or until it is just cooked through.
Do not overcook the salmon, as that would make it dry.
If you time everything right, the risotto and the salmon are ready at about the same time.
Flake the salmon and add about half of it to the risotto, together with the remaining tablespoon of butter.
Stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the risotto on preheated plates with the remaining salmon on top, and garnish with grated lemon zest.
We enjoyed this with a Friulano from Friuli that was made using used wooden barrels. The used wood doesn’t give off any flavor, but it does make the wine more round and creamy and that works well with this dish.