Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Grilled Scallops & Fennel Risotto

Recipe Review- My very favorite scallop recipe that my family has been making for years, accompanied with creamy fennel risotto and a simple spinach salad

I love all foods- but if I had to pick a favorite it would be scallops. Kevin agrees with this sentiment- If there are scallops available on a menu at least one, if not both of us are sure to order them. My favorite way to make scallops is on the grill. The recipe that I use has been a favorite in my family for as long as I can remember (it was originally published in 1987). It's quick and easy to make and turns out amazingly every time. Kevin and I had both had a pretty crummy week, so I decided to make some scallops to cheer him up (I had originally intended to treat him to dinner- but he ended up helping make most of it).

Scallops on the Grill
yield: 4 servings
1 1/4 lbs sea scallops
salt & pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
1 zucchini

Preheat outdoor grill to high. Put scallops in a dish and add salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons olive oil, pepper flakes, mustard and thyme. Trim off ends of zucchini and cut crosswise into 16 slices. Add to the scallops dish and mix to coat.

Place one ripe of zucchini on a skewer and add 2 scallops, Add another piece of zucchini and 2 more scallops, repeat until skewer is full, ending with a zucchini piece.

Brush the grill with a light coating of oil. Place the skewers on the grill and book about 1 minute. Turn to the opposite side and cook 1 minute. Continue to cook, rotating until all sides have been cooked, total time about 6 minutes for medium well, 8 minutes for well done. Serve hot.

Fennel Risotto
adapted from Gourmet
yield: 4 servings

1 small onion, diced fine
1 small fennel bulb with fronts
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup Arborio Rice
1/4 cup dry white wine

Dice onion. Strip fennel Stalks flush with bulb, saving fronds and discarding stalks. Half bulb lengthwise and discard core. Finely chop bulb and reserve with onion. Finely chop enough fronts to measure 2 tablespoons and reserve separately.

In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan bring broth and water to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.

In a 2 quart heavy saucepan cook onion and fennel bulb in butter over moderately low heat, stirring until softened. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium and add wine. Cook while stirring, 1 minute, Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until broth is absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition absorb before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy looking, 18 to 20 minutes total.

Stir in fennel fronts and salt and pepper to taste and serve risotto immediately.

As you can see from the photo I also added some steamed asparagus right at the end. The original recipe has this dish as an entree and uses shrimp, but since I was serving it as a side I omitted them. I've had the recipe with shrimp before however and its really really good. I think I'll leave out the asparagus to get a stronger fennel flavor. Also I was afraid of the amount of onion I was putting in, but it cooks down a ton, and you really need the whole onion to get good flavor.

I made a simple spinach salad with strawberries, candied pecans, red onion and a champagne vinaigrette (Trader Joe's makes the most amazing Champagne Pear Vinaigrette- you can find it in the refrigerated section).

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