Cod, Sorrel, Basil & Samphire Risotto

Few months ago, just at the end of Winter, I went to Barcelona. More precisely to Sitges where I rediscovered Spain that I have been in love with for such a long time. I love everything about this country, its colors, landscapes and cities, its people, its language, its sunny days, its cooking… We went to the local market (no vacation really happens without a trip to a local market!) and I could chat with the local fisherman selling salted cod. There you go, just plain salted cod, chopped into large chunks and rough pieces. Nevertheless I can assure you that there was something really beautiful and magical about the simplicity of this salty mess with spots of grey, pink and white fish skin appearing underneath. After few culinary advices on how to dessalinate it (you have to leave it to soak in cold water for 2 to 3 days and change the water regularly), I went home and looked for a way to cook it gracefully. Did you know you can eat everything in a cod? The flesh is noble but the head, the skin and the backbone can be used for soup. Here’s a fish risotto. Basil and sorrel leaves add a divine zingy twist to the whole dish.Ingredients: For the broth:

  • 2 l water
  • 1 celery stick with its leaves
  • 1 white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tomatoe
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced or cut in small sticks
  • 1 large broccoli bouquet
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1 kg small / medium size tomatoes for 1 to 2 cups of roasted tomato ‘juice’ (optional)

For the risotto:

  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 200g dessalinated cod
  • 250g risotto rice
  • grated parmesan to serve
  • a large handful of basil leaves and the same of small sorrel leaves
  • 1/3 cup samphire, drained from their vinegar
  • Guérande salt and pepper


  1. Desalinate the cod by soaking it into water for 3 days, changing the water every evening and morning (keeping the whole thing in the fridge all along); Drain & set aside
  2. The night before, prepare the vegetable broth by cooking the vegetables in boiling salted water
  3. Once the vegetable are cooked, retrieve the pan from the heat and let the broth cool down with the vegetables in the broth (you’ll filter the broth before using it); Set aside
  4. In a pan, cook the cod with a tsp olive oil till slightly golden; Cut the fish into small bits and set aside
  5. In a large pan (large enough to contain the broth you’ll add to cook the risotto rice), place the butter and the olive oil
  6. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and brown it till golden and crisp
  7. On high heat, add the dry rice and stir it till well covered with oil and butter
  8. Lower the heat and add the broth: the rice should be just under the broth level
  9. Stir the rice constantly (ideally with a special wooden risotto spoon) so it absorbs the broth. When the liquid starts to diminish, add some more and so on on so forth. The rice should be cooked ‘al dente’ (approx. around 20 min depending on your risotto rice brand). Personally, I love to add the ‘juice’ of roasted tomatoes that I prepare for the tomato risotto. Just roast the tomatoes and keep the cooking ‘juice’. Add it to the broth, it will give a delightful flavour to the dish.
  10. Add the fish, the salt and pepper
  11. Stir well and serve quickly with grated parmesan, the samphire and plenty of basil and sorrel leaves