lemonfish with basic risotto

do you ever have those days that you wish you could leave everything behind to move to the islands to go sell coconuts?

is that just me?

i mean for real. there are some days that i just wish i could have simiplicity of it. i mean i’m sure i’m totally romanticizing it all and that i would get bored in less than a week. but it sounds like a fabulous deal, i mean aside from the constant sweltering heat but i think i could learn to live with that. and i’m not talking about going to live in gulf shores or panama city. i’m talking about the virgin islands or bora bora or some where like. and if i’m being honest, i’ve never been to either of those locales but the pictures look gorgeous so i like to pretend that would be awesome. i could totally live the life that kenny and jimmy sing about. you know… all kicked back in a old blue chair with a boat drink in my hand.

but for real.

and if i lived on an island i could make dinners like this all the time because i could fish i all the time. i might have mentioned to you that i recently went fishing and this was part of the spoils of the trip. see i didn’t actually catch this but that’s why we share.

lemonfish with basic risotto

  • 4 lemonfish (cobia) filets
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • 1 – 2 tbs canola oil
  • 4 c reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 c arborio rice
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  1. place the canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and get it good and hot.
  2. season your fish filets with salt and pepper; dredge in flour. place the filet in the hot skillet and cook 5 min so that you get a nice golden crust. turn the heat down to medium and cook for another 3-5 min until the fish is cooked all the way through.
  3. make your risotto: bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan; cover and keep warm over low heat. in a large saucepan, melt 2 tbs of butter over medium heat; add the onion and garlic and sautee until tender but not brown. add the rice and stir to coat in the buttery goodness. add the white wine and simmer until the wine is nearly absorbed, about 3 min. add 1/2 c of chicken stock and stir until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 min. continue this addition and stirring until rice is tender and all the stock is absorbed (make sure each 1/2 c of stock is absorbed before adding the next 1/2 c), about 20 min total. remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, parmesan, salt, pepper and lemon zest.
  4. serve the hot risotto with your beautifully cooked lemonfish!

here’s a couple notes:

– since these were fresh caught filets and i don’t have a kitchen scale, i have no idea what the weight of these were. if you were looking for a specific weight to buy, i would go with a 6 oz filet.

– if you don’t have lemonfish (cobia), you could substitute and firm white fish in its place.

– yes. i am aware that risotto can seem really daunting (all that stirring!) but i promise you it’s really not. as long as you have arborio (or medium grain rice) and you stir, it will come out. it is more needy than it’s cousin long grain rice but it’s oh so good.

– no i didn’t give an exact flour measurement because all you need to do is dredge it in the flour. i just put a handful on a plate and go from there. you just want to coat the fish so if i tell you 1/2 c +, you could waste a lot of flour that way.

– make sure when you’re sauteeing your fish, you don’t crowd the pan. you want to get a good sear on the filets so make sure you keep your pan hot. if you have a large enough pan to fit all the filets without them touching and crowding each other, use 1 tbs oil. if not and you need to do more than 1 batch, use an additional 1 tbs of oil per batch.

i know that’s a lot of notes but honestly, with the simplicity of this recipe, i almost feel like you need every one of them. this is more about the cooking techniques than about ingredients really. i promise this is so much simpler than giving a bunch of notes makes it seem. and this is really worth trying if you can get your hands on some fresh lemonfish!


recipes adapted from: john besh’s my new orleans, giada de laurentiis’s everyday italian


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