The European perch is one of my favorite fish, sure is one of the best between the freshwater fish, it’s part of the same family of the zander/walleye, and its fillets are completely boneless (and quite easy to make), so it’s perfect for many kind of recipes.
Risotto with European perch is a very common recipe from the Italian northern lakes area, there are some variants, of course, but this is one I particularly like.
And with this recipe we don’t waste anything of the fish, since with the heads and bones we are going to make a fish stock.
INGREDIENTS (4 people):
- 400 g of European perch fillets
- 320 g of rice (Carnaroli or Vialone Nano types, between the most common to find)
- 1 medium size onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 rib of celery
- 1 clove of garlic
- 4/5 leaves of sage
- 1 glass of dry white wine
- 4 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 50/60 g of butter
- the zest of one lemon
- parsley (or chives if you prefer)
For the fish stock:
- 1,5 l water
- heads and bones of 3/4 fish
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2/3 bay leaves
- fresh parsley
- pepper in grains
- First of all we prepare the fish stock, so in a stockpot we put first the oil and when it’s hot enough we add the leek, the garlic and the onion chopped into big pieces. When everything is softer and got a golden color we add the fish heads and bones, we squeeze them a little bit and then we add the water, the bay leaves and the pepper, and we boil at low heat for 45/60 minutes.
- When the fish stock is ready, in a large pan (casseruola in Italian) we start with the oil and half of the butter (the other half we will use in the end, to cream). When hot enough, we add the squashed garlic and the sage.
- When the garlic gets some color, we remove it and we add the onion, the carrot and the celery, all of them cut very thin.
- In another pan we toast the rice at a high heat for 2/3 minutes, until it will be hot as you touch it and the grains shiny/transparent (the perfect temperature to toast the rice is 220/240 °C, that’s why is better in a second pan, otherwise we would burn the onion…or, if you don’t want to take a second pan, you can remove the onion and add it back later, after the rice has toasted and you set the heat lower). Then we drop the rice into the onion (or vice versa if you use only one pan) and we simmer with the white wine until is reduced.
- At this point, we add some fish stock enough to cover the rice, and from now we will cook at a medium/strong heat, adding the fish stock when it’s needed, until the rice is properly cooked (about 15/18 minutes, but you have to read the package and try with your mouth). After 10/12 minutes we add the fish fillets, cut into small pieces (about 1 cm), and the lemon zest.
- When the rice is ready, we control if the salt is enough, we switch off the heat and we add on the top the remaining butter, and we wait 2/3 minutes to cream, in italian “mantecare” (the traditional “Mantecatura” is with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, but with fish we don’t usually use cheese).
- Add parsley (or chives) and serve it. In alternative, we can decorate the dish with 1 or 2 fried perch fillets on the top (flour, egg, breadcrumbs and then fried in good butter for about 2 minutes on each side, with fresh sage too, until they get a nice golden color).
- Enjoy with a good dry white wine 🙂
Calories (average man): 25′ running / 30′ cycling / 50′ wood cutting 😀
Calories (average woman): 35′ running / 40′ cycling / 1h05′ wood cutting 😀