- 600-800ml light chicken or fish stock
- 65g unsalted butter
- 3 banana shallots, finely sliced
- 250g risotto rice (such as arborio)
- 80ml dry white wine
- Finely grated zest and juice
- 1 lemon, plus wedges to serve
- Handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 65g plain flour
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 100g dried breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 200g good quality smoked salmon
- 2 handfuls watercress
For the horseradish cream
- 3 tbsp grated hot horseradish
- 60ml crème fraîche
- Squeeze lemon juice (optional)
Also useful but not essential
- 8cm x 3cm deep chefs ring or round cookie cutter
- Heat the stock in a saucepan over a low heat, then keep hot.
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a low-medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent but not coloured (about 5 minutes).
- Add the risotto rice to the frying pan and stir to coat in the butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then turn the heat up to high, add the wine and bubble until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the stock to the rice, a ladleful at a time – stir with each addition until the liquid has been absorbed, then add more. Carry on this way until the risotto is cooked with just a little bite – you may not need all the stock, or you may need to add a little extra boiled water. The consistency should be thicker than for risotto – it should hold its shape when you spoon it out.
- Once the consistency is correct, stir through the lemon zest and juice, taste and season – it will need a generous amount of salt and pepper. Transfer to a mixing bowl and leave to cool completely. Stir through the parsley, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour or until you’re ready to shape the cakes.
- Shape the mixture into 4 equal- size cakes. If you have one, you can use a lightly oiled 8cm x 3cm deep chefs ring or biscuit cutter as a mould for the shape. Carefully lift the cakes onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper as you go. Once all the mixture is used up, cover the cakes gently with cling film and chill until firm (about 45 minutes).
- Make the horseradish cream by combining the horseradish and crème fraîche in a bowl. Taste, season and add a little lemon juice if you like (remember the cakes are lemony). Cover and set aside until needed (see Make Ahead).
- Put the plain flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork, then season. Carefully dust the cakes all over with the flour, then coat in the egg and finally the breadcrumbs, gently shaking off any excess as you go. Carefully press the breadcrumbs to secure them.
- Heat 3-4cm vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan. When the oil is shimmering with heat, add the cakes – don’t crowd them; cook in two batches if necessary. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden and crisp all over. Drain on kitchen paper, then keep warm in a low oven while you cook the second batch (or see Make Ahead).
- To serve, put 1 risotto cake on each plate, then top with smoked salmon. Garnish with a sprig of watercress, a lemon wedge and a grind of black pepper, then serve straightaway with the horseradish cream to spoon over.
- Cook the risotto cakes in step 9, then cool, freeze on trays and store in bags in the freezer for up to a month. Cook from frozen in a 180°C/160°C fan/ gas 4 oven for 25-30 minutes before serving. The herbs will discolour a little, but the flavour will be fine.
Or make the cakes to the end of step 8 up to 24 hours in advance and keep covered in the fridge. Fry as in the recipe to serve.
The horseradish cream (and any leftovers) will keep covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- A lightish chardonnay such as chablis won’t overpower the risotto cakes.