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Scallop & prawn risotto

We brought in the new decade with this fabulous scallop and prawn risotto. Couldn’t be simpler to make but tastes really special. Scallops aren’t cheap but you only need a few for this and they are totally worth it.

Wine Suggestion: A special occasion with a special person requires a special wine. Made by the brilliant Dermot Sugrue, his Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan is multilayered, multidimensional and complex. To be honest this is the best English Sparkling we’ve tasted and it has a great roundness and weight alongside it’s natural freshness which allowed us to start with seaside, fresh oysters and then segue to a much richer risotto without breaking a sweat.

Scallop & Prawn Risotto – serves 4

  • 100g butter, plus a bit extra
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 450g risotto rice
  • 750ml-1 litre, hot fish or light chicken stock
  • 350-400g raw peeled prawns
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone
  • 12 scallops, orange roe and side muscles removed
  • a bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of basil, chopped

Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan and gently cook the shallot until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated in butter.

Gradually add the hot stock, stirring all the time, until the rice is just tender – about 20 minutes. Add the prawns when the rice is cooked but al dente, then season and add the lemon zest and juice. Turn the prawns until they have turned pink all over, then add the mascarpone and gently fold in.

Allow the risotto to rest for 5 minutes while you fry the scallops for a minute on each side in a knob of butter in a frying pan. Add these to the risotto and sprinkle with the herbs.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, December 2015.)

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This is a delicious recipe from Marcella Hazan’s The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Marcella recommends using canestrelli which are tiny little sweet scallops which are also know as Queen Scallops or Queenies. We didn’t have canestrelli to hand when we made this but achieved a similar effect by chopping up larger scallops so there are lots of little pieces through the dish. Serve the sauce with spaghettini if you can get it, but thicker spaghetti will work too.

Scallop Sauce with Olive Oil Garlic and Hot Pepper – to serve 6

  • 450g fresh queen or deep-sea scallops
  • 8 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • chopped hot red chilli pepper, to taste
  • salt
  • 450-675g pasta
  • 45g dry breadcrumbs, lightly toasted in the oven or a dry pan

Wash the scallops in cold water, pat dry with a tea towel and cut into little pieces about 9mm thick.

Put the olive oil and garlic in a saucepan, turn the heat to medium and cook until the garlic becomes pale gold, add the parsley and chilli. Stir and add the scallops and a couple of large pinches of salt. Turn the heat to high, and cook for about 90 seconds, stirring often, until the scallops become opaque and loose their shine. Careful not to overcook them or they will be tough. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, remove the scallops with a slotted spoon, and boil down the watery juices. Return the scallops to the pan, turn quickly, then take off the heat.

Toss well with the cooked spaghettini, add the breadcrumbs and toss again.

Drink with: An easy, simple and fruity Grüner Veltliner (GV) works well by not overwhelming this delicate sauce and the spicy white pepper spices in GV complement the spices and chilli in the dish. Don’t spoil the balance by getting a powerful and complex GV.

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