Daily Catch: Red Drum Fish Fillet on Green Basil & Spinach Risotto

Note to the kosher crowd: Sheila is a seafood restaurant but the dish could be replicated at home without the shellfish and be completely kosher.

As many of you know, Sheila is one of my favorite restaurants in Israel. If you haven't caught the article at The Washington Post, you can read it here. In addition to the recipes that appeared in The Washington Post, I was fortunate enough that Sharon, Chef Cohen that is, shared with me, one of my all time favorite restaurant dishes, his green risotto recipe. Here, I am happy to share it with you. It's absolutely phenomenal.

Sheila 182 Ben Yehuda St., Tel Aviv. 03-522-1224

Daily Catch: Red Drum Fish Fillet on Green Basil and Spinach Risotto
Recipe by Chef Sharon Cohen, Sheila Restaurant, Tel Aviv
4 servings
(30 min prep time)

½ kg (1.012lbs) Arborio rice
100 gr (3.527oz) butter
1 cup good white wine
Approximately 1 ½ liters (6 cups)  hot fish stock*
5 fresh sage leaves
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (half moons)
½ cup grated parmesan
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
10 blanched asparagus, halved and sliced into half lengthwise
20 blanched string beans, sliced lengthwise
100 grams (3.527oz) mussels (optional)
200 grams (7.054oz) calamari, sliced into rings (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon

4 tablespoons of basil and spinach puree ingredients:
Small bunch of basil, leaves only
70 grams (approx 2.5oz) fresh spinach leaves

Basil spinach puree directions:
In boiling water blanch basil and spinach leaves for 1-2 minutes, drain and puree to a smooth consistency

Asparagus and beans directions:
Blanch asparagus and beans in boiling water for two minutes and remove to an ice bath.

Risotto Directions: (entire process shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes)
In a wide pot with a heavy base, melt the butter on medium heat and sauté onions until soft but do not caramelize onions and butter. Add the sliced garlic and sage leaves and continue sweating for a couple more minutes. 
Add the rice and mix with a wooden spoon until rice is translucent. Make sure the rice does not caramelize and get crispy. Add a cup of wine while constantly mixing. When the wine reduces, add gradually the stock while mixing and reduce. Cook the rice at all times on medium and make sure there is always liquid in it bubbling on a gentle bubble.
2-3 minutes before the risotto is done, add the calamari and mussels. 1 minute before the risotto is done, cover the pot with a lid to allow the mussels to open. Keep covered for a minute, take lid off, make sure all mussels are open and then add the mascarpone, basil/spinach puree, asparagus and beans and mix. Take off the heat, add lemon and parmesan and mix. The green risotto popping into the mussels looks beautiful. Taste and adjust for salt.

4  6 oz fish fillets with skin on, Red Drum or other firm white fish
Salt to taste
Fresh thyme leaves
Black pepper to taste
20 gr (0.705oz) butter

Coat the fish fillet well with salt, pepper and a few thyme leaves. Heat up a heavy frying pan, melt the butter and warm up butter on high heat until it turns golden. Add the fish fillets skin side down and sear for 20 seconds until golden on high heat. Turn down heat to low and continue cooking skin side down for another minute. Turn fish to flesh side down and sear on high heat for 20 seconds until golden. Remove from pan into a plate.

If fish isn’t cooked through put in a preheated 400F oven for 2-4 minutes.

Note: The basil/spinach puree, blanching the asparagus and beans and cooking the fish fillet can be done while the risotto is cooking.  The total cooking time is 30 minutes if working simultaneously on different components of the dish.

Plating Red Drum fish fillet on Green Basil and Spinach Risotto
In four separate plates, scoop the seafood risotto evenly. Place a fish fillet on the risotto and serve.

*Fish stock can be made in advance by adding fish bones, heads and tails to boiling water with celery, carrots, onions, garlic, thyme. parsley and salt. Sharon of Sheila Restaurant also adds some grated tomatoes to the stock.  Sharon’s tip: do not cook the stock longer than 40 minutes. You could also find excellent ready-made fish stock in your market aisles.


  1. Mouthwatering! A perfect combination.



  2. Oh you have me drooling with this dish. Love it!

  3. Replies
    1. Yep. We had it 4 lunch twice when visiting Israel.:)

  4. Adoring this dish - Fish and risotto . divine Shulie and thanks for sharing!

  5. Green basil and spinach risotto sounds divine. I bet the flavor of the the fish was incredible. Delicious dinner idea:)

    1. TY Lora, it was, freshly caught that morning, unbelievably fresh.

  6. That's one elegant looking dish! I love the addition of spinach risotto! Yum!

    1. TY Kiran. Yep that resto does a spectacular job in flavor combination and presentation. Super delicious and local.:)

  7. What a gorgeous plating and the food looks so appetizing!! I love your pan too. :) We eat fish quite often, but never had it with basil spinach risotto. It looks very beautiful and it's perfect dish for small dinner get together.

    1. TY Nami this was at the restaurant in Israel. Was so beautiful that I went the next day to photograph, so they plated it especially for the shoot, but they serve the dish this way on any regular day too! The day before I ate at the bar there, was closer to the kitchen so I could peek in and was easier for the chef to come in and out of the kitchen and talk to me. I couldn't leave Israel w/o capturing it.:)

  8. I like this type of dishes, they're two in one. The fish stand alone and so does the risotto, but when these flavors are combined, you get a new wonderful flavor.
    The dish looks really good, and the way the fish was cooked didn't takeaway it's shape nor look. Amazing!

  9. TY. I know, right?! I think cooking the fish that way is a talent on its own. The simplicity but you got to get it right technique! It's challenging for me not to let the skin stick to the pan. Obvious this is professionally done! :)

  10. Beautiful dish Shulie. I've never heard of Drum Fish, I need to check that out for sure.

    1. TY Heather. Let me know if you find it & how do you like it? You can substitute any fish really! :)

  11. This meal is fit for royalty! I love everything about it...just reading the ingredients for the risotto is making my mouth water :)

    1. TY Liz. I am just like you I read ingredients in a post! :)

  12. looks amazing and congrats on the washington post article thats so cool

  13. That risotto sounds amazing. I can't wait to get in the kitchen and try it. Beautiful plate of food!

    1. TY Maureen! I agree, beautiful plating by the restaurant! :)

  14. This is a beauty. And I have just enough basil hanging on to do this!

  15. I don't like the buttery mantecato, but mascarpone could make a good substitute. Has to be tried.

  16. You made me drool here and I am loving the idea of spinach risotto!

  17. Fantastic flavor combination! Fish is always my first choice when it comes to it. Thank you for a great recipe. :)

  18. Gorgeous risotto, I love the basil and spinach!

  19. Hi Shulie! =)

    that looks so mouth watering, I wouldn't mind a bite right now. I dont really make nice risottos, just havent got the hang for it yet and my husband is't that much of a fan for this type of rice dish. I want to get better at making it though, so I ll make yours once when my husband isn't coming home for dinner.

    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  20. Hello there, You've done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they'll be benefited from this website.
    My website > captain black

  21. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice
    from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog?

    I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I'm thinking about setting up my own but I'm not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Many thanks
    my web page - Villa Antalya

  22. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog.
    I'm hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now ;)
    My web site : property for sale in turkey

  23. Thanks for any other informative site. Where else may I get that
    type of information written in such a perfect means? I have a project that I am simply now running on,
    and I've been on the look out for such info.
    My homepage : Huoneisto Antalyasta

  24. Thanks , I've recently been looking for information about this topic for a while and yours is the best I have came upon so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain in regards to the supply?
    Also visit my web site Kjøpe hus i Antalya

  25. Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of information on your page.
    Im really impressed by your site.
    Hi there, You've done a fantastic job. I'll certainly digg it and personally
    recommend to my friends. I am confident they'll be benefited from this web site.
    My webpage: immobilienalanya.net

  26. Simply want to say your article is as astounding.
    The clarity in your post is just nice and i could assume you're an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.
    Feel free to visit my blog :: Mahmutlar Alanya

  27. Hello, all is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing
    data, that's actually good, keep up writing.
    Also see my website: lägenheter till salu i Antalya

  28. What's up everyone, it's my first go to see
    at this website, and post is actually fruitful in favor
    of me, keep up posting these posts.
    Here is my website mac baren

  29. Hi there! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the excellent work!
    My blog post tattoo removal

  30. It's the best time to make some plans for the future and it's
    time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!
    Also see my site - www.youtube.com

  31. whoah this blog is fantastic i really like reading your posts.
    Stay up the great work! You realize, lots of people are hunting round for this info, you could help
    them greatly.
    My homepage ... samson tobacco