Welcome to a new world. One day I will look back on this post and remember the time we were on “Stay at home” orders during the Covid19 Pandemic. But for now, I am making comfort food at home, connecting with those I love, and taking care of my body and soul. Just because we are using pantry items more than before, doesn’t mean you cant make a wonderful meal for your family! This recipe for Seared Scallops over Mushroom Risotto & Basil Oil takes a bit of preperation, but is a decadent meal that will make anyone forget about their troubles.
Tips on Choosing and Prepping Sea Scallops from The Kitchn:
“Whichever kind you buy, look for scallops that are a uniform pearly white color with firm, slightly moist flesh. They shouldn’t be either completely dry or dripping with moisture. Don’t spend your money on scallops that look mangled or shredded. This shows mishandling and can also sometimes indicate lack of freshness. Also, we wouldn’t bother with frozen scallops, as their texture and flavor aren’t nearly as good.”
I usually buy about one-and-a-half pounds for a dinner party of four people. This is enough for everyone to have their fill, and you might just get a few leftovers!
“Compared to other shellfish, scallops are very easy to prepare for cooking! We usually just rinse them under cool running water and pat them dry. Check over the scallops as you’re handling them and remove the side-muscle if you find any still attached.”
My favorite way to prepare scallops is to simply melt a little butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sear the scallops. Sear them for about a minute and a half on both sides, just enough to get a golden crust and barely cook them through. To get a really crispy crust, make sure the scallops are dry as possible before going into the pan and salt them only at the very last second.
This Basil Oil is super easy, and is delicious on EVERYTHING!! And because it’s just 4 ingredients, extra virgin olive oil, basil, salt and crushed red pepper flakes, it’s naturally dairy-free, Whole30 approved and vegan. Drizzled over fresh tomatoes in the summer, bruschetta, or mix into any pasta dish, basil oil will impress even the sceptics in the house.
Today, I drizzled it on these Scallops over Mushroom Risotto & Basil Oil to add a pop of color, and freshness in a dish that can sometimes get heavy.
To make Basil Oil:
- Wash and dry the basil.
- Place the basil, water, salt and red pepper flakes in mini-food processor and blend.
- Add the olive oil and pulse a few times until you have a smooth sauce.
It’s best to use infused oil the same day, and can be stored in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days, although the color may change a bit.
Making Risotto, its easier than you think!
The Kitchn has a great video showing you the steps of making risotto! A few key points are:
- Use the best rice you can find
- Warm the chicken stock first. Adding cold liquid will slow the cooking down
- Have all of your ingredients prepped FIRST before starting to cook
- How to know its done: “First take a look at the pan: Is the risotto creamy but not thick, rolling back after the spoon is run through the pan? You’re probably very close to done. Now take a bite — the rice should be mostly soft with a small bite on the softer side of al dente”
- Just before serving, add a few more dabs of butter and the Parmesan and then serve right away.
If you enjoy this recipe, you will love these other seafood focused recipes as well!
- Baked Lemon Garlic Cod with Tomatoes and Leeks
- Burst Tomatoes over Garlic Shrimp Zoodles
- Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce
- Fish Stew
Seared Scallops over Mushroom Risotto & Basil Oil
Seared Scallops over Mushroom Risotto & Basil Oil screams date night! A restaurant meal that can be made at home with creamy risotto, plump scallops, and fresh basil oil. An Italian favorite brought home.
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, stemmed and washed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for finishing
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1/2 pint button mushrooms, cleaned and large chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Wash and dry the basil. Place the basil, water, salt and red pepper flakes in mini-food processor and blend. Add the olive oil and pulse a few times until you have a smooth sauce.
- Warm the broth in a medium saucepan over low heat, which helps the risotto come together faster. If you need to skip heating the broth, make sure it’s at least at room temperature and not cold from the fridge.
- Melt the butter in a 10- or 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms, and a pinch of salt and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir until every grain is coated with the butter. Add more fat if needed — this is not the time to skimp! Continue stirring the rice until the edges have turned translucent but the center is still opaque, about 2 minutes. You should also be able to smell the aroma of toasted rice. Avoid actually browning the rice here; toasting the rice is all about the aroma.
- Deglaze the pan. Add the wine, and simmer, stirring constantly, until the wine has completely reduced and the pan is nearly dry, about 3 minutes.
- Slowly add the broth in increments, stirring in between. Begin incrementally adding the broth one 1/2 cup at a time, stirring regularly between additions. Wait until the liquid has been almost completely absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladle; dragging your spatula through the rice should leave a dry path where the spatula was. This gradual addition of liquid is key to getting the rice to release its starch and create its own delicious sauce, so don’t rush this step. Ideally, you want to use just enough broth to cook the rice and no more.
- As the risotto cooks, sear off yoru scallops. Heat a pan over medium high heat with butter and olive oil. Pat your scallops dry and sear 1.5 minutes on both sides. Season with salt at the last minute.
- Continue adding broth until the rice is al dente and the broth is creamy. Begin tasting the rice after about 12 minutes to gauge how far it has cooked. The risotto is ready when the rice is al dente (when it still has a bit of chew) and the dish has the consistency of thick porridge, 20 to 30 minutes total (you might not use up all of the broth). If you run your spatula through the risotto, the risotto will flow slowly to fill in the space.
- Finishing and serving the risotto. As a final step, add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of butter if desired and the cup of cheese to enrich the risotto and make it extra-creamy. Serve the risotto immediately. The longer it stands, the more the starches will set and you’ll lose the creamy silkiness.
- To plate: Add a heaping serving of risotto to a plate, top with a few scallops and drizzle basil oil over the top. Enjoy!
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