Barley Risotto with Pancetta-wrapped Salmon and Mushroom


4 X 4 oz salmon fillets
freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8-12 slices pancetta
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
heaped 1 cup pearl barley, washed and drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1-3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2/3 cup red wine
8 oz chanterelles (or other mushrooms, such as ceps, porcini, field mushrooms or large flat mushrooms)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon each chopped fresh tarragon and parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.
  2. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and then wrap each in 2-3 slices of the pancetta. Cover and set aside.
  3. Heat a large frying pan until hot. Pour in the olive oil, then add the barley and stir until it starts to turn golden – about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the onion and garlic and continue frying for 5-10 minutes, until the barley starts to brown. Don’t let it burn.
  5. Add the stock, soy sauce, red wine and seasoning. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until nearly all the liquid is gone – this should take at least 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, brush or scrape the mushrooms clean (slicing any bigger ones to size) and heat another frying pan until it’s hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the mushrooms. Stir-fry until lightly colored – about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the stir-fried mushrooms to the barley and mix together. Remove from the heat and cover with tin foil pierced with holes to allow the barley to swell and absorb all the liquid. Leave it in a warm place for 15 minutes. (At this stage, you could let the risotto cool, reheating it for serving up to 24 hours later.)
  8. Whilst waiting for the risotto to rest, place the pancetta-wrapped salmon on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and bake for approximately 10 minutes until the pancetta is golden.
  9. Pop the risotto pan back on the heat, add the tarragon and parsley, and the remaining butter. Stir well until hot, taste for seasoning and divide between four plates. Carve each fillet into three slices, place on top of the risotto and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Nick Nairn’s Top 100 Salmon Recipes