Ingredients for Salmon Arancini:
2 x Small fillets of salmon
250g Arborio risotto rice
1/2 large white onion, finely diced
50g Unsalted butter
40g Parmesan, grated
60g Mozzarella cheese, torn into small pieces
800ml Chicken stock
Pinch of Saffron
50ml Double cream
2 x Egg yolks
2 x Egg whites
100g Fresh bread crumbs or panko breadcrumbs
This makes 10 good sized arancini and feeds 4-6 depending on appetites and what you serve the dish with it.
But let's move on to making the rice. You need Arborio rice; Carnaroli or Aquerello will both work just as well as the core ingredient to the dish. First things first, make up your stock if you are not using fresh stock, put into a pot and bring to the boil, drop in the saffron and let it gently simmer.
Next, in a medium-sized pan, melt the butter and cook the onions until they are softened and begining to turn translucent. You do not want to brown the onions, so let them sweat for 10mins. Once they are translucent, you can add the rice and cook gently for 2mins or until the rice begins to meld into the onions. It's time to start adding two ladlefuls of hot stock to the rice at a time. On each stock addition, allow to simmer but stir constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed.
You can tell when to add more stock by running your spoon through the rice mixture. If the liquid immediately fills in the crevice you make, let it cook some more. If it remains clear, it is time to add more stock.
Whilst keeping a very close eye on your rice (risotto) mixture, pop the two salmon fillets onto a baking tray (skin side down) into the oven for 20mins on 170c/gas 3.
Once the rice mixture is completely cool or if you are using left over risotto, you need to begin to form the arancini. You can be precise and divide the risotto mixture into 30g pieces but I tend to work on the basis of dampening your hands with cold water, taking a spoonful of the mixture, flattening it out into the palm of your hand. Then cup your hand, place in the mozzarella piece, then begin to form a fist around the cheese. Open your hand, add more rice mixture if need be and continue shaping them the ball so that the central cheese is completely surrounded (and protected ) by the rice mixture. It's an easy process and actually takes very little time, what's important is to keep your hands damp with cold water, as this helps shaping and stops the rice mixture from becoming cemented to your hands. It is really important to make sure that you squeeze the arancini together to make them as compact as possible before breading and chilling. This tightness helps the arancini to maintain shape whilst frying.
Now get out two separate dishes, place the two beaten egg whites into one and in a second dish place the fresh bread crumbs (panko breadcrumbs if you don't have bread or forgot to make breadcrumbs).
To thin the egg mixture, add a teaspoon of cold water whilst you beat them.
Dip each arancini into the beaten egg and then roll across the breadcrumbs and pop onto a waiting plate. Once all the arancini have been breaded, cover the plate and pop back into the fridge for another 30mins. It is so essential for the rice mixture to set and cool.
If you have a deep fat frier, pop it on and get the temperature to 180c or alternatively, if you don't have the frier, bring about 4 inches of vegetable oil in a small pan to temperature. When the oil becomes hot enough to fry, lower the arancini one at a time into the oil with a slotted spoon. For the frier you can place between 4-6 arancini into the basket to cook. Let each arancini fry for a 2-3mins or until golden brown; throughout the frying, continue to monitor the colour so that the arancini do not burn.. i gently rotate each ball using the slotted spoon. When they are golden brown, remove with the slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel to drain. Repeat the frying process with the remaining arancini.
Once all are fried, serve immediately with some lovely crispy salad and a balsamic dressing or glaze.