Scallops, Mushrooms, and Scallions

Last weekend I was getting ready to go out to breakfast with my husband and in the background was a show on PBS that I was semi listening to.  Did you ever have one of those moments when suddenly what you aren’t paying attention to suddenly becomes your entire focal point?  Lydia Bastianich was pointing a finger at me and telling me I should pay attention because it was the dinner I had waited for.  Ok,, she didn’t really call out my name but it was a dinner I could have waited for.  I could have literally licked the TV screen.  She had put together a dish of mushrooms and scallions and scallops with a beautifully caramelized crust to them and it had my name written all over it.

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Later that morning, we were out eating breakfast and I’m telling my husband about this dish.  He had the same reaction I did.   Conveniently, the bookstore was right next to where we were  (I know it was fate) and we ran over.  On the spot we bought her new cookbook, “Lydia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking”.  Not only did it have this recipe, but several others I will try soon.  It’s a great addition to your cookbook collection.

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One thing I do want to note on this recipe is that you want dry scallops.  You have to ask for them when you go to the market.  Typically you get the scallops that have sat in some chemical brine and they are slimy and won’t caramelize well.  It’s definitely worth the extra effort and your scallops taste so much better because they haven’t absorbed that chemical brine.

I also added brown rice to this recipe as a starch base.  You don’t need it, but it did add a little substance to the meal.  I just placed a large spoonful under the mushrooms before serving.

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I will definitely make this again.  The mushroom combination hit a home run with the garlic and butter flavors hanging on discretely to every mushroom.  The crunch of the scallion was a nice sharp bite in comparison to the sweet softness of the scallop.

The next time someone yells at you from the TV to pay attention, do it.  This really hit a 4 star YUM rating on my palate.  You need to try this!

Scallops, Mushrooms, and Scallions

Course Entree
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
  • 8 cups sliced mixed mushrooms, (buttons, shitake, cremini and chanterelles)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 bunches scallions, trimmed and lightly chopped (approximately 2 cups)
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter I used 4 Tablespoons
  • 1 1/4 pounds sea scallops, foot or side muscle removed
  • good quality balsamic vinegar for optional drizzling

Instructions

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, over medium high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

  2. Add garlic.

  3. Once garlic begins to sizzle, add the mushrooms and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  4. Cook until mushrooms begin to wilt, about 6 to 7 minutes.

  5. Add the scallions, thyme sprigs and butter and cook until the mushrooms are tender, another 3 to 4 minutes.

  6. Transfer to a serving plate and keep warm, removing thyme sprigs.

  7. Wipe out the skillet, return to medium high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

  8. Season the scallops with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

  9. Serve on mushrooms, drizzled with balsamic vinegar if desired.

Seared Scallops with Blue Cheese and Bacon Risotto

No matter what I do in life, it seems it’s always better when bacon is involved.  There is just something about the sweet, salty, meaty combination that makes us all fall in love with it.

I’m not even sure when and where I saw this recipe.  It might have been a posting from a local restaurant or a picture in a magazine, but when I saw bacon and risotto in the same sentence, I knew I wanted to make it  On that same note I remember thinking how much my husband liked scallops and how much I like risotto, so as in life….a perfect pairing!

I’ve always made what I think is a pretty good risotto, but I’ve always used parmesan.  This recipe just shows you that it’s okay to think outside of the box.  Of course, the nice thing about risotto is you can add pretty much whatever you really like and it will come out good.  That is the beauty of this dish.

When you see a picture or have an idea that inspires you….give it a try.  Nothing lost, nothing gained as my grandmother would always say.  You might actually find you’ve created something worth talking about!

Bon Appétit!

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Seared Scallops with Blue Cheese and Bacon Risotto

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • Blue Cheese and Bacon Risotto
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 or small onion, diced (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup aborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 ounces blue cheese
  • white pepper and salt to taste

Scallops

  • 10 Sea scallops
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil

Herb butter (optional)

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon chevere, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Instructions

  1. Warm chicken broth, do not boil. In a large saucepan over medium heat cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan to drain and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.

  2. Add onion to bacon grease and cook until tender. Add garlic and rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and stir to scrape up the bottom and until wine is absorbed.

  3. Add one cup chicken broth and gently stir until broth is absorbed. (if it is absorbing too fast lower the heat) Repeat, adding one cup at a time, until it is creamy and tender but still has just a hint of resistance when you bite into it – about 20 minutes.

  4. Remove from heat and add reserved bacon and the blue cheese and stir until cheese has melted. Season with white pepper and salt if needed. Allow risotto to rest approximately 10 minutes before serving, as it will thicken as it cools.

  5. For scallops: heat canola oil in a non stick skillet until almost smoking. Dry scallops in paper towels and add to hot oil, 2 to 3 minutes each side. Do a small amount at a time, as they will steam if too crowded. They will be nicely browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Remove scallops from pan and set aside. Add 1/2 of the butter to the pan with the minced onion and sauté. Add parsley and chevre (you can also use tarragon, thyme, lemon basil) and wine and deglaze pan. Add remainder of butter.

  7. Add scallops back to butter mixture and gently heat.

  8. To serve, top risotto with scallops and herb butter if desired.

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