Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saffron Risotto With Sea Scallops

It's rainy and gross here in Brooklyn. What else is new, eh? It's been raining and gross for a while now, it seems. Rain doesn't normally bother me, having grown up in Seattle, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

Still, it gives me an excuse to stay inside and do some cooking, which I haven't done much of lately. I never really felt inspired until I was actually at the grocery store yesterday afternoon and walked by the seafood section and saw some fresh scallops. I hadn't made risotto in a while, and I'd wanted to try a saffron risotto, and the scallops seemed to cry out as a perfect excuse.

This recipe was kind of thrown together without too much thought, so I bet there are some good ways to improve on it, and I'm open to suggestions. Even so, I really enjoyed it and since I'm only cooking for myself these days, I get to hoard all the leftovers. Such is the plight of a single guy who cooks.

Saffron Risotto With Sea Scallops


1 - 1 1/2 cups abborio rice
32 oz chicken broth (I use the Pacific Foods organic broth and really enjoy it. Homemade is best, of course)
1 cup diced shallots
4 cloves of garlic, diced
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 - 2 tbsp saffron threads
1 lb sea scallops
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmigianno reggiano
1 leaf fresh sage, cut into small pieces
kosher salt
fresh parsley to garnish


Start the chicken broth in a small pot over low heat. Once hot, put the saffron threads in 1/2 cup of broth and set aside.

In a large pot, combine 2 tbsp butter and 2tbsp olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is melted and the oil is hot, add the shallots and the garlic and stir until evenly coated. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the white wine and the sage. Continue to cook until the shallots are translucent.

Add the rice and stir until evenly coated. Add one ladle's-worth of the chick brother and stir it in. Add the saffron/broth mixture and stir.

Continue to add a ladle's-worth of broth every time the rice has soaked everything up. I used about 1 1/4 cups of rice, and this took all 32 oz of the broth, one ladle at a time. You'll keep adding broth until the rice is done, and sometimes you'll have some broth left over.

Once you've started adding brother to the risotto, it's time to cook the scallops. Lay them flat on a plate and season them with kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper. I had enough scallops that I had to cook them in two batches, but that will depend on how big the scallops are. If you can do it in one batch, great.

In a skillet, heat up 2 tbsp butter and 2tbsp oil. Toss in the scallops so that they're not touching (another reason you may need to do two batches). Turn as necessary so that they're evenly cooked, taking care that they don't stick to the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes until they're nicely browned on all sides.

Once the scallops are done, remove them from the skillet and place in a bowl or plate on a paper town to drain.

Once the rice is cooked, add the remaining 2tbsp butter and the 1/2 cup for parmigianno reggiano and stir vigorously. I also added some of the scallop drippings here to give it some extra flavor.

Plate the risotto and place some scallops on top along with some ground pepper, parsley, and mo parmigianno reggiano.

Risotto isn't always the best choice for a hot summer day, I'm the first to admit. But the saffron, sage, and shallots combined with the scallops make this version something I think works really well. The saffron helps keep it tasting light, and the sage makes for a very floral, summer-y flavor that's perfect for summer.


Anonymous said...

I don't know how I wold imnprove on this. Buyt, as you know, constantly tasting to be sure the rice is never overcooked is key. Failurew would ruin any risotto.

You might consider using white pepper, if onlyh becasue it doesn't show up in the risotto.

Holly Rose said...

I know how old this post is, but I found it just in time for myself. I pretty much followed the recipe to a T, except that I drank Rose and listened to Ann Peebles (this was not in the directions). But it turned out perfect! I'm going to call this broken-heart shellfish risotto. It is perfectly delicious, and the only sadness is not having someone to share it with. Thanks to Alexis and Kristen, both of whom I spoke to while cooking and grooving.

Holly Rose said...

Oh, and I forgot the most important bit! I used Haitai "sweet rice", and it worked just as well as arborio. No one mentions that in the food blogs, but korean short rice is just as good as italian here.

Brian said...

Glad you liked it, and thanks for the kind words. Good to know about hatai rice - I'll give that a try some time.

Holly Rose said...

Just wanted to update: I just cooked this again for my husband and parents, and everyone is totally blissed out. I won't say you're totally responsible for me landing my husband, but this dish *did* help. :) thanks, Brian!

Brian said...

Can't think of a higher compliment. Thank you!