Scallops are a special treat for us, mainly because they are so expensive, and you never know how fresh they are when you get them at the grocery store. With a few more $25 off coupons to use with Arganica (organic food delivery service) I didn't feel so bad about spending $16 for a pound of fresh sea scallops. One pound got us 18 scallops, ranging in size. To go along with them, I wanted something that wouldn't out shine their fresh flavor, but still delicious in it's own right. I decided on a lemon asparagus risotto that would be a creamy and bright contrast with the rich flavor of the scallops. It was a great combination, the risotto was so good it could easily be a meal in itself. But the scallops added another layer of decadence to the dish- they were amazing! They got a nice brown sear using the cast iron skillet. This isn't your average dinner... it takes time and special attention, but it is totally worth it in the end!
1 lb asparagusfresh sea scallops (the number is up to you... we did 10 for two servings but it was a lot)
3 T grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, zested and juiced
6 cups low sodium chicken or seafood stock
1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheeseKosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Wash the asparagus, trim off the tough ends, and cut the stalks into 2 inch pieces. Heat the chicken or seafood stock in a medium pot with 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling stock for about 2 minutes, and drain it with a slotted spoon. Set it to the side. Turn off the heat and leave the stock covered so it will be hot for the risotto.In a large sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat and add the shallots and a sprinkle of salt. Saute for about 5 minutes until they are soft and translucent. Add the rice, and stir until all of the grains are coated in oil.
Let it toast for a couple minutes, and then add the wine and stir, turn heat to medium-low. Add half of the lemon juice to the mixture. Once the wine has completely evaporated, begin adding the stock, one ladle-full at a time.
Stir in the cheese, lemon zest, and asparagus. Taste for salt and pepper.
When your risotto is about 5-7 minutes away from being done, begin cooking the scallops. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high. Turn it down to medium right before placing the scallops in. Let them sit without touching for about 3-4 minutes.
Carefully check to see if they are brown on the bottom before flipping. Cook the other side for about 2 minutes and they should be done.
Remove from the pan, and serve over a mound of risotto with some extra cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This combination of flavors is so amazing- enjoy!