Born in "THE" Bronx, raised on Long Island...stints in Rochester, NY; Manhattan, NY; Andover, MA; Montclair & West Windsor, NJ and now Memphis, TN., our cuisine of birth is Italian, but we enjoy cooking Chinese, Mexican, American and hodge-podge.

Our recipes will be as accurate as possible, but you see, I rarely measure things. I prefer to combine based upon taste.

Also, I will use brand names on occasion, but am not sponsored by any company and these mentions do not put cash into my pocket.

Music is my other love & we will share music related to food (in even the smallest sense) with y'all with every new post.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Scallops with Asparagus Risotto

Nothing to do with today's menu, but I do love Peaches...
Frank Zappa
"Peaches en Regalia"


Unfortunately, I have an allergy to Lobster, Crab, Shrimp, Crawfish, Langostinos...all of the crawly shellfish creatures that are so succulent. I was able to eat lobster and crab until I was around 10 when a reaction caused me to swell and my airway to close. I was rushed to the doctor's and made it in time.

About 5 years ago while preparing Chicken and Shrimp Franchaise with risotto for a dinner party, I had a reaction and passed out. Not only did that ruin the evening for all, it removed shrimp and the rest from my diet.

Fortunately, I am still able to eat mussels, clams and scallops. On Saturday, I had a yearning for scallops, so headed off to the grocery store with Nancy.

It was a simple shop as we purchased a pound of scallops (about 10 sea scallops), a loaf of French bread, a pound of asparagus (in season and just wonderful right now), and a 48oz container of Chicken Stock. Everything else we would need were staples.

I had decided to sear the scallops and serve them on top of an Asparagus Risotto.

Now, many tell me they would never try to cook risotto because it is too difficult. Actually, if you have a half hour, it is a very simple dish to make. It might take one or two attempts, but when you finally 'get it', it turns a simple meal into something more special.

Plus, it is so adaptable. You can add almost anything to a basic risotto recipe and make a different meal every night of the week!

A good risotto only takes time and concentration...

The entire recipe follows:

1 pound scallops
1 pound asparagus - hard stem broken off and then cut into small, uniform size pieces
1 medium onion - minced
2 tablespoons garlic - minced (not shown)
4 tablespoons olive oil (not shown)
4 tablespoons butter (not shown)
1 cup medium grain rice**
3 cups Chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine (not shown)
1 cups milk (not shown)
fresh tarragon (not shown)
fresh lemon juice

Clean off scallops and remove the mussel if present. Put milk into shallow bowl and
add tarragon. Place scallops into milk and set aside.

Put the chicken stock into a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. The stock must be hot when you add it to the rice or you will ruin the meal.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the asparagus pieces for about 2 minutes. Drain and put into ice bath. Drain from ice bath and set aside.

In a 5 qt pot, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. When butter is melted, add the minced onion. Saute, stirring about 2 minutes, until onions are translucent. (left)

Right at the end, I add 2 tablespoons of garlic. Some do not, but a meal without garlic is a meal unfulfilled!

Add the rice and continue stirring, mixing the rice garlic and onions.

This is when you better have everything you need in reach. The asparagus, a non-stick skillet for the scallops, the remaining 2 tblspns. of butter and oil and a drink, because for the next half hour you are a stirring fool.

Add the white wine and stir.

At this point, I added a squeeze of the fresh lemon. I poked the end of it with a fork and just gave it a one second squeeze.

I was looking for an undertone of lemon flavor, but did not
want it to overpower the flavor of the rice.

Stir until the wine is absorbed. Do not rush.

Stir in 1 cup of the chicken stock and stir, stir, stir until it is absorbed. It can take 5 -8 minutes for this to occur.

Continue adding the stock as needed a half a cup at a time. Never stop stirring.

When stirring do not just keep going in circles.
Make figure 8's and go back and forth and front to back.
BUT, don't stir the rice hard.
Use a gentle stirring motion. You don't want to break the rice apart,
but you also want to ensure you are keeping the flavors gelling.

Once you have added all the stock and it has all been absorbed, gently fold in the asparagus pieces. When completely mixed, cover the pot and move it off the heat.

Heat the non-stick skillet over medium heat and as it heats, rinse off the scallops.

Put the butter and olive oil into the skillet and get it hot, but not smoking.

Add the scallops (it is best if you can fit them all in one layer without crowding - or use two skillets at the same time).

Saute about 2 minutes until caramelized on the outside. Turn and cook 2 more minutes.

Dish the risotto into bowls and place the scallops around the edge.

Serve with warmed bread and butter and a nice glass of vino.

**Risotto is made from a high-starch (amylopectin), low-amylose round medium grain rice. Such rices have the ability to absorb liquids and to release starch and so they are stickier than the long grain varieties.

The principal varieties used in Italy are Carnaroli and Vialone Nano and to a lesser degree Arborio.

In the USA arborio rice is most the variety most commonly found in the grocery stores.

If you happen to have a great Italian Food Store near you, try and find some Carnaroli and Vialone Nano as they are considered to be the best (and most expensive) varieties, with different users preferring one over the other.

They have slightly different properties: for example Carnaroli is less likely to get overcooked than Vialone Nano, but the latter being smaller cooks faster and some say absorbs condiments better.

13 spices added:

Patti said...

Yum..Ralph loves scallops and this dish looks great. I like them too, but since he's the chef...

We need to get adventurous around here and try risotto.

Sorry about the allergies to all that shellfish.
I had an allergic reaction when I was a teen to bluefish. Never ate it again.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

PATTI: Risotto leaps a meal from simple to simply devine

Liz Hill said...

asparagus is just coming into season here and I'll likely have some local to use for supper this Sunday.

I LOVE scallops--I am lucky lucky lucky in that I have no shellfish allergies--the one fish allergy I do have sucks but there are so many fish in the sea!

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

TURNBABY: Asparagus here is so succulent...yummo.

Rex said...

I love scallops. Sorry about the allergy but at least you will always have bacon!

s. stockwell said...

Wonderful photos and a perfect saute on the scallops. Thanks for this post. Best from Santa Barbara, s

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

REX: bacon and scallops! WOO

S. STOCKWELL: Thank you so much. I appreciate your visit.

Dana said...

I share your crawly sea creature allergy - I looked like a balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade the last time I ate soft-shelled crab, but I can eat me some scallops - and those look quite tasty!

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

DANA: OK, everyone gets lobster...we get all the clams and scallops!

Cinnamon Girl said...

Oh man, you have my sincere condolences for the lack of crawly shellfish. I could live on those. That said, I am making this next week for Kidlet and Me. You have 3 of her favorite things. Risotto, scallops and asparagus.

I LOVE Risotto but with shoulder tedonitis it really is a labor of love.

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