Thursday, March 7

Seared Scallops & Baked Saffron Risotto

I hadn't made scallops in what seems like forever (especially since I was thwarted in my attempt to score some for Valentine's Day), so I decided to whip them up for a quick but elegant weeknight meal with friends. They're great with risotto, but this easy baked version requires almost no effort compared to the classic cooking method. All I had to do was put the rice in the oven before my guests arrived and then quickly sear the scallops five minutes before we were ready to eat. It's such a great dish to entertain with and tastes like something at a fancy restaurant.

Seared Scallops & Baked Saffron Risotto:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add in 1 minced onion.
  • Cook onion for 7-10 minutes, or until soft and translucent, then add in 1 minced garlic cloves.
  • Stir the garlic for a minute, or until fragrant, then add in 1 c. of aborio rice and stir to combine.
  • Cook the rice for a minute or so, then add in 3 1/4 c. seafood stock,* a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of saffron.**
  • Place a lid over the pot and transfer for a 350F oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and is tender.
  • Immediately stir 1/2 c. more stock, 1/4 c. white wine, and 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese into the rice.
  • Stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes, or until rice is creamy. Add a little more liquid if necessary to achieve the right consistency.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. canola oil in a large skillet over high heat until almost smoking.
  • Rinse 1 1/4 lbs. sea scallops under water, pat very dry, and season with salt.
  • Add scallops to the pan and let caramelize for 2-3 minutes,*** then flip and cook for another few minutes on the other side.
  • Divide risotto onto plates and top with the seared scallops.

Serves four
*Or use a mild chicken stock.
**Optional, but I love the color it gives the risotto.
***Do not move the scallops until the are darkly brown or they won't caramelize and will stick to the pan.