Once again, KBW & I decided to combine our kitchen ingredients to figure out a menu for last night’s dinner. KBW had seen some great scallops at the grocery store, that she picked up, I had the ingredients for risotto in my cupboard, along with some trusty Brussels sprouts in my fridge. Granted it was a Wednesday evening, so we paired our meal with a big glass of skim milk (mmmm, my favorite. We figured we’d put the wine on hold until closer to the weekend). *Side note: KBW & I both have the ability to polish off a gallon of milk within only a few short days… dairy is my biggest weakness, & one huge staple of my daily diet.
Here is the meal, broken down in three parts: sprouts, risotto, scallops.
Trim and wash your sprouts… cutting them in half. Let them dry out before baking. Preheat your oven to 350*F. Place the sprouts, facing up on a slotted sheet on top of a lipped baking tray. Melt a couple tablespoons of salted butter. Using a pastry brush, brush melted butter on the top facing side of the Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Place in the hot oven. Let cook until the tops look decently dried out. Remove from oven and flip sprouts over. Brush the other side of the sprouts and sprinkle with kosher salt. Return to hot oven. Let bake until tops are lightly toasted brown. (The whole process will take between 15-25 minutes.)
Use the slotted tray so that your sprouts aren’t saturated in butter… this lets the excess butter drip off the sprouts and collect in the lipped baking sheet underneath. I have found in the past, when letting the sprouts bake on a regular cookie sheet, sitting in the butter, they do not become crispy… but soggy. And that is not nearly as enjoyable.
Now, my mom gave me this recipe. I am the biggest lover of a creamy risotto. This one actually lets you control how much fat, ingredients you include, therefore making it as healthy or non-healthy as your prefer. You can also add whatever toppings you like… KBW & I chose to add crispy bacon and sautéed mushrooms to ours.
Bacon – Crisp up a handful of pieces of bacon in your hot oven… We cooked ours at 375*F. Once the bacon is nice and crisp, remove from oven, and set aside to cool. Once cooled, crumble bacon. Set aside.
Mushrooms – remove stems, wash, and slice. Let dry. In a small skillet on top of your stove, sauté mushrooms with olive oil, dried oregano, kosher salt, and pepper.
In an 8 x 13 inch Pyrex dish (or something of similar size that is oven and microwave safe), place 2 Tbl. Unsalted butter, and 2 Tbl. Olive oil. Melt for 1 minute in the microwave. Dice up 1 white or yellow onion. Add 1/2 c. – 1/3 c. onion to melted butter/olive oil. Microwave for 4 minutes. (I just added the whole onion to mine, so feel free to toss in as much as you’d like. I had measuring anything, and sort of just eye-ball most of my ingredients.) Add 1 c. Arborio rice. Stir. Microwave another 4 minutes. Stir in 3 c. low sodium chicken broth (you may want to reserve a little more than this for later, if you rice is a little dry). Microwave 9 minutes. Stir. Microwave another 8 minutes. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese, kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss in your crumbled bacon and sautéed mushrooms. Top with a sprinkling of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.
Yum yum yum. Scallops can be rather rich, but certainly tasty. I’d aid on the side of a larger serving of veggies and risotto, so you aren’t left with a tummy ache from too many rich scallops. They are hard to resist though!!! When picking them out at the store, look for the plumpest, meaty ones.
Rinse and blot dry your scallops. Sprinkle both sides with a little kosher salt. Let scallops entirely dry before cooking.
In a medium size skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of butter. Get the skillet nice and hot, so when you finally toss the scallops on, you can achieve a nice crisp, brown crust. Mince a garlic clove or two. Toss in hot butter. Place scallops one flat side down into hot butter. Try not to disturb the scallop while cooking. (Suggestion: place the chubbier scallops closer to the center of the skillet, as they take longer to cook than the smaller ones.) Once the scallops are nice and brown, using tongs, turn over and repeat with the other side. This should take each side about 4 minutes to cook. They should be almost firm to the touch once cooked thoroughly. Squeeze a little fresh lemon over top of scallops while cooking. Remove from heat. Squeeze a little more fresh lemon juice over the warm scallops once you have removed from the hot skillet. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love adding lemon to dishes… it adds such a fresh/refreshing aspect.)