Monday, 24 February 2020

Delicate fish teamed with salami for perfect risotto

Paul Clerehugh, owner and head chef at the Crooked Billet in Stoke Row and London Street Brasserie in Reading, shares

Paul Clerehugh, owner and head chef at the Crooked Billet in Stoke Row and London Street Brasserie in Reading, shares his recipes with Standard readers.

TRY this roast hake, Milano salami, watercress and lemon risotto with watercress oil for a perfect al fresco meal with your friends.

Cooks will tell you risotto should be slightly undercooked. Whether your grains have a slight crunch or are soft enough to squash against the roof of your mouth with your tongue is entirely up to you.

I find Carnaroli rice easy to cook with; Arborio tends to go soft very quickly, Carnaroli behaves better in the pan.

Risotto is only as good as the wine and stock you use — sorry, no stock cubes. In the photo I’ve cooked a piece of hake, but any chunky white fish will be equally delicious. Serves four.

Hake fillet, approximately 150g per person
200g Arborio risotto rice
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
50ml white wine
1ltr chicken stock
100g Milano salami chopped
100g watercress for dressing
200ml olive oil
Salt & pepper
100g watercress for risotto
50g parmesan
100g butter
1 lemon


For the watercress oil: blitz up the watercress and slowly add all olive oil to make a tasty vibrant green oil.

In a medium pan slowly cook down the onion and garlic until soft with no colour, then add all the rice and fry for another minute. When the outside of the rice grain has gone translucent, add the wine.

Once the wine has been absorbed, slowly add the hot chicken stock a bit at a time, but wait till the first stock has been absorbed before adding the next.

Keep stirring the rice with a plastic spoon (a metal spoon will break up the grains) as often as possible.

The rice will take around 20 minutes to cook. When you are five minutes from the rice being cooked, pan fry the hake and get a good crispy golden skin.

When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat, add all the salami, watercress, butter and parmesan to the pan. Slowly stir it all together. Finally, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

This dish features on my £15.95 set two-course luncheon menu at London St Brasserie.

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