I’ll admit it. I’m a food nerd. I care more about the James Beard Awards than the Oscars. I would rather read Gourmet than People Magazine. And I would be happier if trapped for a day in Williams-Sonoma than Bloomingdales. I recently found great joy in helping my close (non-food nerd) friend Natalie complete her wedding registry. I proceeded to talk her I-don’t-even-like-to-cook ears off about the love and care one must give their cast iron skillet if they want to own one, lectured her on the many uses of a mortar and pestle and the importance of a proper knife set. She laughed hysterically when I insisted she register for and eight-hundred dollar one.(Seriously, It was gorgeous.) But most importantly we made sure she was all set for risotto-making. Aside from being creamy, delicious and the perfect dinner for two newlyweds, on a stressful day, nothing is more therapeutic than stirring up some risotto.
When asked what to order off of the menu at Lucques, my heart races, my eyes light up and I start saying things about the scallops like “They make you happy to be alive.” “They are to die for.” “They are what makes Lucques Lucques.” And despite my overly-dorky enthusiasm about all thing culinary, it’s all true. Nothing gives me more joy than a delicious meal. This dish, is not the one on the menu at Lucques. You’ll have to go there for that. But the combination of sweet last-of-the-season corn with mushrooms, topped with perfectly cooked scallops is inspired by it. And with the crispy bacon inside the creamy risotto, it doesn’t take a food nerd like me to say “I do” to making this recipe.
Congrats Nat and Trev!
Pan-Seared Scallops with Corn, Bacon and Shiitake Mushroom Risotto
- 8 thick-cut strips of applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips
- 4 ears of corn, husked
- 6 large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1/2 inch strips
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium shallots, chopped
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
- 2 lbs jumbo sea scallops
Cook the bacon in a large well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with a kitchen cloth to drain. While bacon is cooking, cut the corn from the cobs and set aside. Snap the cobs in half and put in a large pot with 10 cups water. Place the pot with water and corn cobs on a back burner and bring to a simmer.
Place the mushrooms in the skillet with the bacon drippings and cook over medium-high heat until slightly crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate. Add the butter and chopped shallots to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the wine until absorbed, then add a pinch of salt and the corn kernels.
Remove the scallops from the refrigerator and sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Set aside.
Ladle in 1/2 cup of the hot corn broth into the rice mixture, stirring until absorbed. Continue adding corn broth in 1/2-cup increments, allowing it to be absorbed before adding more, until the rice is just tender, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the cheese, chives and half of the mushrooms and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low to keep warm, stirring occassionally.
In non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. when the pan is very hot, add the scallops and sear until a brown crust forms on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
Place a generous mound of risotto in the center of each plate. Using tongs, place scallops atop the risotto. Top with the remaining bacon, mushrooms and more cheese. Serve with a salad of mixed greens.