Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon-Shallot Risotto

This dish was another exercise in improvisation.  I was wanting to do something with pan-seared scallops as the centerpiece, while finding both a starchy side and a green vegetable that would provide nice complements.  I decided to cook the scallops in a simple garlic butter, accompanied by a risotto flavored with shallots and lemon, and gently broiled asparagus spears.

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The scallops and asparagus really don’t need recipes, they are really that simple.  For the scallops, rinse thoroughly in cold water, and season with sea salt.  Heat some butter over medium flame (but be careful not to overheat the butter), add a clove of minced garlic and sear the scallops a couple minutes on each side until gently browned.  Hit them with a little squirt of lemon juice and some cracked pepper, and you’re done.  For the asparagus, toss in olive oil, kosher salt and cracked pepper, arrange on a baking sheet and place under a low broiler until tender and a little char begins to form.

Here is a more specific recipe for the risotto.

  • 2 tbsp. whole butter (divided)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • White pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock to a simmer.  In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon of the butter and sweat the garlic and shallot.  Season with a pinch of salt and white pepper.  Add the remaining butter with the olive oil and the Arborio rice, and stir to completely coat the rice with fat.  Add the wine and stir until thoroughly incorporated.  Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring each time until absorbed before adding more.  When all the stock has been added, throw in the lemon zest and juice, and adjust your seasonings to taste.  Lastly, mix in the parmigiano until your dish reaches a creamy consistency.

That’s all there is to it.  Plate it up and munch it down with a big happy grin on your face.  Simple, delicious and at least reasonably good for you.  Does it get any better than that?  Until next time:  Eat well, my friends!

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