This lightened-up version of the comforting Italian dish calls for wild mushrooms instead of heaps of cream, butter, and cheese. The mushrooms add a gourmet touch without extra weight for your holiday packing or your waistline. Whichever mushrooms and herbs you use, the trick to exceptional risotto is to stir slowly and continuously after each addition of broth, which helps release the starch and gives the dish its creamy nature, with or without cheese.
Mushroom miscellany Look for dried chanterelles or morels, or blends that include more budget-friendly porcini or oyster mushrooms. Feel free to add fresh wild or cultivated mushrooms—even sliced button mushrooms are a toothsome treat, though fresh chanterelles would be wonderfully indulgent. Simply sauté them in olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and minced tarragon, cook gently for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender, and serve on top of risotto.
Broth pointers Homemade vegetable or chicken broth is best since the broth is one of the strongest flavours in this dish, but you can also use commercial vegetable broth or quality bouillon cubes or powder. The soaking liquid of the dried mushrooms is essentially a quick mushroom broth, which reduces the amount of additional broth required. And, if you want to travel extra light, use dried herbs instead of fresh.
If the rice isn’t tender after 20 minutes, increase the heat slightly. If you’re running out of broth, the heat is too high. But don’t worry, you can add a little extra water or wine to stretch the remaining broth if needed.
In medium heatproof bowl, pour 4 cups (1 L) boiling water over dried mushrooms. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
In medium pot, heat broth to just below a simmer. Into pot of broth, strain mushroom soaking liquid through sieve lined with cheesecloth. Reserve drained mushrooms. Add pepper to broth and salt to taste; it should be fairly salty, since the rice will absorb much of the salinity, but if using commercial broth, check the amount of sodium it contains before adding moreu2013u2013you may not need any at all. Cover and keep warm.
In heavy-bottomed skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced shallot and cook for 4 minutes, until softened. Add rice and stir to coat for 1 minute. Add wine or vermouth and drained soaked mushrooms. Stir for 30 seconds to deglaze pot.
Add 2 ladlefuls of warm stock to rice and stir until absorbed. Add half the chives and tarragon (if using dried herbs, add all the chives and tarragon) and continue adding a ladleful of broth at a time until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes, stirring slowly but continuously after each addition until broth is almost absorbed before adding more. Taste and add salt, if necessary.
Top with remaining fresh chives and tarragon and optional sauteu0301ed fresh mushrooms and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
While sablefish’s texture and fat content stand up admirably to the heat of the grill, this firm fish is also delicious poached. For this recipe, sablefish’s luxurious taste is combined with a light fragrant broth of lemongrass and ginger punctuated with the heat of Thai chili. Sustainability status Sablefish, also known as butterfish or black cod, is a rich and satisfying fish, plentiful in omega-3s and sourced sustainably from the Pacific Northwest. Skin and bones Sablefish has large pin bones. Ideally, your fishmonger will remove them, but if not, before you begin, locate them along the fish’s centreline and, using a pair of needle nose pliers, grasp them firmly to remove. You can leave the skin on for this recipe, which may help the fish hold together a little better while cooking, but it can be tricky to peel the skin away from the cooked fish and discard before plating. I opted to remove the skin first and simply keep a close eye on the cooking time, being careful to remove the fish from the poaching liquid before it flakes apart.
These mildly spiced salmon tacos served with sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds will bring a party together. Make a small quantity of salmon go further when you pair it with a fresh red cabbage slaw featuring citrus and cilantro. Drizzled with some bright lime yogurt, the flavours come together perfectly. Sustainability status Wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are considered among the most sustainable, as the fishery is subject to limited harvests. With salmon stocks in decline, supporting managed fisheries such as these can help maintain populations into the future. That may also mean eating salmon less often than we do now. Salmon is a favourite Salmon is the most popular variety of fish in Canada and the second most popular in the US.
B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.
The delicate flavour of shrimp is highlighted with just a touch of lemon and a hint of mustard, while radish and celery give some fresh crunch to this dish. Eat it in lettuce cups, on top of greens, or served on whole grain bread for a filling snack. Sustainability status Both wild and farmed shrimp can be sustainable depending on where they’re caught and how they’re raised. See our article “Sea Change” for more information about choosing ethical shrimp.