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Yellow Perch with Butternut Squash Risotto

Yellow Perch with Butternut Squash Risotto
PREP TIME
3h
COOK TIME
1h
YIELDS
6 servings

There are many components to this dish but most all of it can be made a few days ahead, and each step is relatively easy.You will need 1 1/4 butternut squash in total for this recipe.See the table below to see how far in advance you can make things.

Several steps can be prepared 1 day ahead of time (Puree: 4 days, Stock: 3 days, Brunoise: 3 days, Risotto base: 2 days, Crispy bacon: 1 day).

Substitutions: Ocean Wise™ yellow perch is mild and sweet with delicious white flaky flesh. Replace it with any other fast cooking fish such as Arctic char. You can substitute store-bought vegetable stock for the squash stock if you are not able to make it.

Pairing Suggestion: Tom Firth: Nk’ Mip Cellars Rosé.

Recipe by Chef John Belknap from John and Sons Oyster House and taken from “The Ocean Wise Cookbook 2” ©2015 Whitecap Books Ltd.

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Ingredients

Squash Stock (Makes about 4 cups/1 L)

½
medium squash, peeled and rough chopped
1
onion, chopped
1
carrot, chopped
1
celery rib, chopped
4
sprigs thyme
4
- 6 cups (1-1.5 L) water

Squash Brunoise

¼
squash
¼
cup (60 mL) butter
Salt

Squash Purée

½
medium squash, roughly chopped
2
Tbsp (30 mL) honey
Salt

Crispy Bacon

6
slices bacon

Risotto Base

¼
cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
2
cups (500 mL) finely diced onion
2
cups (500 mL) Arborio or carnaroli rice
2
cups (500 mL) dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Squash Risotto

Salt
6
- 8 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped

Ocean Wise Yellow Perch

6
(6-oz/170 g) fillets Ocean Wise yellow perch, skin on
1
tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
6
Tbsp (90 mL) vegetable oil
2
Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter
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Directions

Step 1

Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and refrigerate when cool. Make up to three days ahead.

Step 2

Cut squash into julienne strips and then turn a quarter turn and dice into 1/8-inch (3 mm) cubes. Sauté in skillet with melted butter on medium heat for 5–8 minutes or until tender. Season with salt.

Step 3

Place squash pieces into a pot and add just enough water to cover bottom of pot by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cover. Cook until squash becomes slightly mushy, about 20 minutes.

Step 4

Purée squash and some of the cooking liquid until slightly runny. Add honey to the purée, in small quantities at a time, and taste for sweetness. Season with salt.

Step 5

In a heavy pan on medium heat, sauté bacon until crispy. Drain to remove fat. Dice into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces and refrigerate.

Step 6

Heat squash stock in a pot and keep warm.

Step 7

On medium heat in a wide based pot, add butter. When the butter starts to foam, add the onions. Cook until translucent. Season with salt.

Step 8

Add rice and stirring constantly, coat with butter until almost toasty for 2–3 minutes. Add wine to rice and stir until wine just barely evaporates. Do not to let the rice dry, always keep the rice moist with liquid. At this point, start incorporating the warm stock 1/2 cup (125 mL) at a time, stirring frequently.Keep adding liquid until the rice absorbs all the liquid. The rice should be creamy and al dente. You should have about 1 cup (250 mL) of stock leftover.

Step 9

If risotto is made a day or two ahead, spread risotto base onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate in airtight containers.

Step 10

If you are planning to make the risotto immediately, you need to have all the components prepared ahead of time.

Step 11

To finish risotto prepared ahead of time: Melt 3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter in a large pot and add the cold risotto. Break up risotto lumps by adding just enough stock to loosen risotto. Reheat until the texture is creamy. Add squash purée, squash brunoise, and half of the bacon. Gently combine.

Step 12

If the risotto seems dry, add a little more stock. If too wet, allow the risotto to cook out a little longer on low heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, add sage leaves, and adjust seasoning. Stir well to blend all ingredients. Cover loosely while you sear fish.

Step 13

To finish freshly made risotto: Add squash purée, squash brunoise and half of the bacon. Gently combine.

Step 14

If the risotto seems dry, add a little more stock. If too wet, allow the risotto to cook out a little longer on low heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, add sage leaves and adjust seasoning. Stir well to blend all ingredients. Cover loosely while you sear fish.

Step 15

Remove from heat, add sage leaves and adjust seasoning.

Step 16

Season fillets with salt. Heat the oil and butter in large pan over medium-high heat. Place fillets skin-side down into pan, avoid overcrowding, and fry until fish is crisp around the edges and the flesh is opaque, about 4–5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the perch.

Step 17

To Serve: Place risotto into a warm large-rimmed bowl or centre of a plate. Set the crispy perch on top of the risotto and sprinkle with remaining bacon.

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