Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Seared Scallops With Vanilla Risotto

As a huge fan of vanilla, I was struck by this recipe  - found back in the dark ages when the Los Angeles Times published a weekly section dedicated to food. When I first made this dish, I knew this would be one I would continue to revisit often. The scallops are seasoned and seared to perfection.  The vanilla adds the unexpected twist that compels you to hurry and take that next bite. This is one of those dishes that makes portion control a difficult concept to follow.

Seared Scallops With Vanilla Risotto

2 T butter, divided
1 vanilla bean
4 T olive oil, divided
3 T diced sweet white onion
1/2 c arborio rice
1/4 c dry white wine
2 c vegetable stock
4 T freshly grated Parmesan
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
12 sea scallops
salt and pepper
* serves 4 as an appetizer and 2 as an entree

Soften 1 T of butter in a small bowl.  Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Combine the seeds with the butter and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt 1 T of butter with 1 T of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the white wine and half the stock.  Cook, stirring until the stock is absorbed.  Add the remaining stock a little at a time.  Continue to stir until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the vanilla butter and Parmesan. Sir until the butter and cheese have melted and the risotto is creamy. Set aside and cove to keep warm.

In a separate, non-stick skillet, heat 2 T of olive oil and saute the zucchini rounds until tender.  Remove and keep warm.

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides. To the same skillet, add the remaining 1 T of olive oil and sear the scallops on high heat, about 2 minutes on each side until they are opaque part way through for medium.

To serve: divide the risotto among the plates, add the zucchini on top and finish with the seared scallops.

Serves 2 as an entree and 4 as an appetizer.

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Source:  Adapted from the LA Times.

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