Not only is this risotto beautiful, it’s delicious too.
Our 45th wedding anniversary was August 16th, followed the next day by my husband’s birthday. He married an older woman (by 9 months); I was 21 and he turned 21 the next day so his mom had to “sign” for him to be able to get married.
So, to celebrate our 45th we took off for Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria/Seattle. We called this our “planes, trains, and automobiles” trip (after the movie) but it turned out to be planes, trains, automobiles, water taxis, whale boat, ferry boat, tour bus (to Butchart Gardens), hop on hop off bus trip.
The trip started in Seattle, one night there and then caught Amtrak for a beautiful 5 hour ride to Vancouver which was almost totally overlooking the water. Once in Vancouver we walked the Calpilano Suspension bridge, tree top adventure and cliff walk along the edge of the park.
A whale watching boat took us on a 4 hour trip across to Victoria where we saw lots of whales. While there we saw Butchart Gardens and of course had to have tea at the Empress Hotel where we were staying.
One night we had dinner at the Blue Crab Restaurant and took a water taxi over to the restaurant since the walk was a little long with the sore foot I developed while hiking through the Cilpilano Park (:() ) It seems like ever dinner we had (they were all great) we called our anniversary dinner.
That night at the Blue Crab, GA (hub) had a pan seared halibut with summer green pea risotto and tarragon butter sauce. It was so beautiful I almost wanted to trade but I had Sea Scallops and Tiger Prawn with pancetta and garden pea couscous and chili citrus butter sauce which I did not want to share. (We did share a bite.)
This was definitely one of our favorite trips and ranks right up there with trips to France, Spain and Italy.
Here is my attempt to recreate his wonderful meal; and I’ll be making my dish in the future to share with you. You can make this with or without the Halibut. Scallops would be delicious also or just use it as a side dish with whatever you are taking off the grill.
If you do just the green pea risotto then you will not need the tarragon or the halibut.
Put a little over 1/3 of peas in food processor with a ladle of the vegetable broth and process.
This is what the puree looks like. I increased the pea amount to 4 ounces after I made mine because I remembered his risotto looking a little more green.
Saute the chopped onion until limp and translucent.
Add the rice and stir with the onions until it starts to sizzle.
Start adding the hot broth one ladle at a time and stir until it is absorbed before adding more.
After you have used enough of the broth to finish the risotto, stir in the pea puree and the parmesan cheese, followed by the whole peas.
Risotto without the halibut. Great side dish for any entree or no protein at all. Top with some pea shoots for garnish.
Green Pea Risotto (with Pan Seared Halibut)
3 1/2 Tbsp. Butter
1 onion, finely chopped
10 oz. frozen green peas
5-6 c. vegetable stock
12 oz. risotto rice
1 c. white wine
1 oz. Parmesan cheese
2 handfuls pea shoots
olive oil to drizzle
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
Tarragon butter sauce:
1/3 c. white wine
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
For the risotto: Melt butter in large saucepan and add the onion; gently sweat for about 10 minutes until really soft. Meanwhile put 4 ounces of the peas into food processor with a ladle of the vegetable stock and pulse until completely pureed.
Stir the rice into the onions and increase to medium high heat and cook until rice starts to sizzle about one minute. Pour in the winer and simmer on medium heat until completely absorbed. Continue cooking like this, adding a ladleful of stock at a time and stirring continuously until the rice is tender and has a good creamy consistency; this will take 20-30 minutes.
Stir in the pureed peas and remaining peas, Parmesan and some seasoning then turn off heat and let stand a few minutes. Give risotto a final stir and spoon on your plate. Drizzle with olive oil and top with pea shoots.
For the Halibut:
Season the fish with salt and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil and butter. Add the fish and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and just white throughout, 6 minutes.
Tarragon Butter Sauce:
Add the wine to skillet and reduce down to 2 tablespoons (1-2 minutes). Reduce to lowest temperature and whisk in the 4 tablespoons of butter, don’t totally melt the butter but whisk until it has a smooth sauce consistency. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, lemon zest, and tarragon. Pour sauce over the halibut (or scallops).
To plate: Put a generous portion of Green Pea Risotto on your plate, top with the seared halibut and then spoon over the tarragon butter sauce. Garnish with pea shoots if you have them.
Note: The original recipe I started with for the risotto called for 7 1/2 cups of vegetable broth. I probably only used about 5-5 1/2; so you may or may not need all the liquid. Also, I changed the recipe to puree 4 oz. of the peas because I remember my husband’s risotto being a little greener in color.