Did I grab your attention with the name of this recipe? “Leek?” you might understandably question. It’s true that the white part of a leek contains an excess of the FODMAP oligo-fructans, but did you know the green top of a leek does not. Yes, those clever researchers at Monash University here in Melbourne have thoroughly tested the humble leek and found, just as with spring/green onions and chives, a small serve of the green leaves at the top of the leek is low in FODMAPs (** see below).
This information was recently published in the Monash Low FODMAP Diet app for iPhone.
So, I decided to experiment the other night and cook up some green leek leaves for dinner. Usually, this is the part of the leek that is discarded and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I gave the white part of the leeks to a friend to enjoy. Risotto was on my menu that night and the leeks, paired with some fresh salmon fillets that had caught my eye, had me ready to cook.
To make the most of the leeks I used them in 2 ways.
- After washing and chopping the first leek it went into a pot with a carrot, stick of celery, parsley, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and water to make a stock.
- This only took 30 minutes of gentle simmering to develop a flavourful liquid ready to gently poach the salmon. At this stage you could add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice for extra flavour. I took the stock off the heat and placed the salmon in amongst the vegies for 10 or so minutes until it was just cooked. After removing the salmon to a plate I strained the stock and placed it back over a low heat ready to add to the risotto.
- Next, I finely sliced the second washed leek and sautéed it over low heat in a little butter and garlic oil. It has been a while since there was an onion-like aroma wafting from my kitchen.
- I then added the rice and continued with my risotto in the usual way, adding a cup or so of stock in intervals and stirring often to develop the creamy texture. I like my risotto to be more on the wet, loose side, rather than thick or gluggy, so I used almost all of the stock; it will continue to thicken after cooking.
- Just as the rice became tender, but definitely not mushy, I added some finely grated parmesan, lemon zest and capers. Finally the salmon, which I had pulled part into flakes, was folded through the risotto.
- Now, if you want to get a bit fancy with finishing off your risotto, choose salmon fillets with the skin on. After poaching, the skin can be fried in a hot pan and will become crispy, ready to be sliced finely as a garnish for the top of the risotto.
- I found the flavour of the leeks to be subtle, which suits me just fine after having avoided most onion flavours for such a long time. I was quite pleased with how the stock turned out, and it really didn’t take much time or effort. In fact, I think this will be a great quick stock to use in any number of dishes.
Poached Salmon and Leek Risotto
Low Fodmap Salmon and Leek Ingredients
500g salmon fillets, skin on or off (see above)
- 1 leek
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick celery
- 5 parsley stalks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 peppercorns
- 1.7 litres water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, optional
Low Fodmap Risotto Ingredients
- 1 leek
- 1 teaspoon each butter and garlic infused oil
- 2 cups (425g) risotto rice, such as Arborio
- ¼ cup (60ml) dry white wine, optional
- 1 cup (40g) finely grated parmesan cheese
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon baby capers, or chop if a little big
Low Fodmap Risotto Steps
- To make the stock, chop the green top of the leek off (give the white bottom to a friend to use) and wash with the other vegetables; roughly chop.
- Place in a pot with bay leaves, salt, pepper, and water. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat, cover with a lid, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice if using.
- Remove the stock from the heat and place the salmon in the stock, pressing down so it is mostly covered, and stand with the lid on for 8-10 until cooked but still a little pink in the centre of the fillet.
- Remove the salmon to a plate, slip a knife under the skin to carefully remove it from the fillet, and break the fillet apart into flakes when cool enough to handle.
- If using the salmon skin as a garnish, season the skin with a little salt and place it in a hot fry pan, fatty side down. Turn after a minute or two; drain the skin on paper towel. Slice finely and set aside.
- Drain the stock into a saucepan and place over a low heat; discard the vegetables.
- To make the risotto, remove the green top from the second leek and wash well. Cut the leaves in half down the length, then finely shred. Heat the butter and oil over a low heat, add the leek, and gently sauté for 8-10 minutes, without browning. Increase the heat to medium and add the rice, stirring for another minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring until absorbed. Add 1 cup of stock and stir every minute or two until absorbed.
- Add another cup of stock, and continue to stir and add more stock until the rice is tender to bite but not mushy; this will take approximately 20 minutes.
- Gently fold through the flaked salmon, parmesan, lemon zest and capers. Top with crispy salmon skin if using.
**1 serve green leek leaves = ½ cup chopped / 28g – should be tolerated by most individuals. Avoid serves greater than 1½ cups which contain high amount of the polyol, mannitol.