Saffron Risotto, Sea Bass, Parsley Oil



This really hit the spot after a long weekend and an enjoyable fortnight of barbequed meat and salads. Risotto is my favourite way to relax in the evening especially with a glass in hand. As a risotto lover, this is definitely up there in my top 5.

Serves 2

  • 2 generous handfuls of Arborio risotto rice (about 200-250g)
  • 1 shallot or 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • ½ garlic clove, chopped finely
  • 1 small glass of dry white wine
  • Large pinch of saffron strands
  • 750-1litre hot light vegetable stock
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 large tbsp of finely grated parmesan
  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • 4 thin slices of chorizo
  • Small bunch parsley
  • 80ml olive oil
  1. Begin with the parsley oil. Bring a pan of water to the boil and have a bowl of iced water ready at the same time. Blanch the parsley in the boiling water for no more than 15 secs. Quickly drain and place into the iced water. Ring out any excess water and pat the leaves dry.
  2. Heat the 80ml of olive oil in a pan until blood temperature and add the parsley. Place all in a food processor with a pinch of salt and blend until you have a lovely green oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning and place in a small jug and leave to cool to room temperature.
  3. Start the risotto (see here for my tips). Melt about 30g of the butter and a drizzle of oil in a pan and fry the onion gently for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Keep your stock in a saucepan close by on a low heat and whisk in the saffron.
  5. Add the rice to the onion and garlic and fry over a medium-high heat until beginning to turn translucent. When too hot to touch, add the wine and simmer until absorbed.
  6. Turn the heat down to a medium-low and add the hot stock ladle by ladle as it becomes absorbed, stirring all the time keeping the mix on a very gentle simmer. Keep adding stock for about 15-18 minutes until the rice is cooked but with some bite (you probably won’t need it all). Season to taste.
  7. When loose in texture and the rice is cooked, add the remaining butter, the grated parmesan and a squeeze of lemon, cover with a lid and take off the heat and place the risotto to one side to rest.
  8. Heat a frying pan to a highish heat and season your sea bass fillets, cutting them into smaller pieces if you like. Fry for about 3 minutes, skin side down until crisp and finish cooking for up to 1 minute on the other side until cooked. Fry the chorizo slices in the remaining oil until crisp.
  9. Stir the melted cheese and butter into the risotto- the texture should be creamy and ‘oozy’ and NOT stodgy. It should require serving in a bowl not on a plate. Taste and adjust the seasoning before dividing into two warm bowls.
  10. Top with the sea bass fillets and the chorizo slices and drizzle with the vibrant parsley oil! Enjoy with a crisp glass of Muscadet.