Summer is full on here in Weimar. We’ve got temperatures hitting close to 40 degrees C and the weather is like on a tropical island. It feels good – almost like an extended vacation overseas. Ever since our return from India 3 weeks ago we are taking things easy. Soeren still is out from school and that alone slows down our routine immensely, with no time pressure for homework, sport runs, meal plans or bed time. It’s summer time and the living is really easy!
Although I have already completed a few photo projects since my return including travelling to a couple of regions in Thuringia for photo shoots, when the locations are gorgeous lakes, vineyards or canoeing on the river under the warm sun - it never seems like real work but rather respite. Even things at the university are relaxed and quiet allowing me to come home earlier and spend time with the kids and our friends.
Summer has got us all in a good mood! Even a calamity like having our canoe careen and tip over throwing us and my mobile into the current was not that much of a big deal! The instant I realized my cell phone was not in the plastic waterproof container but between my legs before I hit the water I knew it had drowned! As we turned the canoe back around – there it was swimming in a massive puddle of water in the boat. I might have reacted more hysterically on other occasions – maybe – but we were all having a good time and I high fived myself for NOT taking my “big” camera with me on the boat, that this only seemed like a small mishap. My mobile phone has been drying every since then – first in the warmth and now in a bag of rice – Aroborio risotto rice to be precise. I hear it helps to withdraw water from the phone. Apparently I am not the only who has tried this!
Risotto is always the best way to put me back on track and think properly again. With summer providing such a generous bounty of produce this risotto was just waiting to happen. I am particularly proud of my homegrown zucchini – harvesting them while they are still small they have a lovely mellow and fruity flavor. Fresh peas directly from their pods, ripe avocado and a good dose of lemon peel all bring the light summery flavors out in the risotto. I serve this with a effortless sander fillet pan-fried in butter and highlighted with tarragon and thyme.
Recipe: Summer Risotto with Peas, Zucchini Avocado and Lemon Herb Sander FilletMeeta K. Wolff
- 1 liter vegetable broth
- 375 ml dry white wine
- zest from 1 lemon
- 300g fresh peas
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 1 ripe avocado, cubed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 300 g risotto rice
- 100 g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 4 sander fillets
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh tarragon and thyme, finely chopped
- Bring the broth to a boil and keep warm. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil together, add the chopped shallots and on a low heat sauté very gently for 8-10 minutes until the flavors have combined and caramelized. Be careful and do not allow them to take on color. Add the rice and increase the heat.
- Keep stirring the rice while it cooks and takes on a glassy color - approx. 1 minute. At this point add the wine and as it bubbles, allow the rice to infuse with the wonderful aroma.
- Once the liquid has evaporated and the rice begins to get dry add a ladle full of broth. Stir well and add a touch of salt. Reduce the temperature so that the mixture bubbles gently. Now, keep adding the broth, a ladle at a time, and allow the rice to soak this up, stirring every now and then. When the rice has soaked the liquid add another ladle full. By “massaging” the rice this way you release the creamy starch from the rice giving the dish a fantastic creamy consistency. This whole process takes approx. 15 minutes. About 10 minutes into the cooking process add the peas and zucchini and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. The rice grains should be soft but still have a slight crunch to them and the peas should be cooked through but still have a bite to them. Now add a bit of salt and pepper, but be careful as the stock is normally salty enough - so please taste before!
- Take the pot off the heat and stir through the lemon zest and the avocado along with most of the Parmesan. Mix well and cover. Allow the rice to take on all the flavors - 2 minutes. Giving the risotto this time allows it to unfold it's perfect creamy-moist consistency. Check and adjust seasoning.
- For the fish drizzle the fish with the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice, then sprinkle with the herbs, lemon zest. Heat the knob of butter in a skillet and fry the fish on both sides until brown, crispy and cooked through.
- Serve on warmed plates with risotto and fish fillet for each person.
The rice is better off in my saucepan sprinkled with parmesan and hugged in melting butter than it is in a bag drying off my mobile phone. Risotto hits all the right spots at all the right moments and my summer version with the zucchini, peas and the avocado chunks brings out the sunny smiles on everyone’s lips. I hope you are enjoying your summer and tucking into and sharing your delicious summer dishes.
Photography & Styling Workshops
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7th - 8th October 2015
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If you enjoyed my summer risotto I am sure you will like these summer dishes from my friends:
- Barbara’s zucchini and potato fritters
- Jeanne’s incredible asparagus, lemon and mint risotto
- Heather’s creamy basil pasta with cherry tomatoes and almond ricotta
- Bina’s carrot ravioli with spinach and pecan filling
You might like these ideas from WFLH:
|Risotto with Lemon Thyme and Fennel|
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