Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pan Seared Sea Scallops over Smoked Tomato and Corn Risotto and Baby Arugula Salad

I get it.  The title of this recipe seems to be a bit "outside the realm" for the everyday cook.  Though the majority of my recipes tend to be geared towards the guy's guy, every now and then it's time to pull out all the stops .  I was lucky enough to be joined by some good friends last night, including a couple who are getting married this weekend!  Perhaps a celebration of sorts was in order.  Perhaps there was also too much frontier whiskey consumed and songwriting into the late night hours, as my plans to get off to an early start this morning were, well . . . a bit delayed.

To be brutally honest, this recipe has too many ingredients.  With that said, sometimes you just have to go with it.  I had several odds and ends lying around that I needed to get rid of, and that's how this recipe came about.  Note:  Don't use your guests as guinea pigs unless you know what you are doing.

This dish presents great texture and flavor contrasts.  The corn in the risotto pairs well with the firm short grained arborio rice.  Crispy pancetta adds a nice bite to the tender scallops, and the cool baby arugula salad is a refreshing note to the comforting warmth of the risotto.  Basically, if you have some time, give this a try.

Note: The following recipe serves four (4)

1/4 Cup Pancetta, finely diced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, diced
1 Cup Fresh Corn Kernals
1 Cup Tomato Sauce, in heavy puree
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Cups Arborio Rice
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
6 - 8 Cups Chicken Stock, warmed

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
16 Large (U-10) Sea Scallops
Kosher Salt

Arugula Salad
2 Cups Baby Arugula
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (best quality)
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, shaved

Begin by heating a large stainless steel skillet and a small cast iron skillet over medium heat.  In the cast iron skillet, add the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is crisp.  Remove pancetta, reserving the fat, from skillet and allow to cool and drain on a paper towel.  Add the pancetta fat to the stainless steel skillet along with the olive oil.  Next add onions and allow to carmelize, about 12 - 15 minutes.  Return the cast-iron skillet to medium heat and add the corn.  Cook corn until kernals are tender and slightly chared on the outside.  Add tomato sauce to the corn, reduce heat to low, and allow the mixture to reduce and simmer while you finish up the risotto.  After the onions have carmelized, add the garlic and rice to the stainless skillet.  Toss the rice grains in the oil and onions, and cook grains for approximately 2 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and allow to simmer for 1 minute.  Ladle in 1 cup of stock, and stir the risotto.  Continue in this manner until rice grains are al dente and mixture is firm and creamy, about 25 - 30 minutes.  Finish the risotto by adding in the smoked tomato and corn sauce and mix thoroughly.

When risotto is near completion, heat a separate large cast iron skillet over medium high.  Add butter, and cook until foam begins to appear.  Pat scallops dry and add to skillet, careful not to crowd the pan.  Sear scallops, 2 -3 minutes on each side, season lightly with kosher salt.

As scallops are finishing, add the greens, oil, and vinegar to a mixing bowl and toss thoroughly.

To serve, plate a generous portion of risotto in the center of a large plate or shallow bowl.  Add four scallops around the perimeter of the risotto.  Next, top the risotto with the dressed greens.  Finally, add the cheese and crispy pancetta to the top of the salad.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was delicious!! :) Always a treat to have one of your meals...Thanks again!!

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