Seared Sea Scallops with Leek and Mushroom Risotto

This afternoon our local Wegman’s had a really nice selection of wild mushrooms. Really cultivated exotics, these mushrooms have a wonderful subtle range of flavors from woodsy to funky. The price per pound may seem high but a little goes a long ways. I like to buy several varieties and mix them. They are a great accompaniment for sea scallops which I sear quickly in a bit of butter and serve simply with deglazed pan juices and a bit of butter.

The Sea Scallops

Ingredients

  • 8 large sea scallops, about ½ pound
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • Another ½ Tbsp. unsalted butter

Method

Rinse and pat dry the scallops. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a skillet over high heat until it starts to brown. Put in the scallops in one layer. Cook for 2 minutes then turn over for another 2 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the wine then, off heat, stir in the butter, and serve over the scallops.

Leek and Wild Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces of mixed exotic mushrooms, I used chanterelle, maitake, royal trumpet, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, trimmed
  • 1½ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry vermouth
  • 3 cups chicken stock with 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Unsalted butter

Method

Give the mushrooms a quick rinse—contrary to what you may have heard it will not hurt them—and cut or tear them into coarse pieces. Heat ½ Tbsp. olive oil and ½ Tbsp. butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and the salt which will help them give up their moisture. Sauté, tossing or stirring regularly, until the mushrooms give up their moisture, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Quarter the leek lengthwise and slice thinly. Bring the chicken stock and water to a simmer. Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil and 1 tsp. of butter in a deep saucepan and sweat the leek for about 4 or 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the rice and stir for two minutes until well coated with the oil and slightly chalky. Pour in the vermouth and let the alcohol boil off. Using a 2 ounce ladle add about 1 cup of stock. Stir constantly until it is nearly absorbed. Continue to add stock 3 ounces at a time, stirring until nearly dry, until all the stock has been added and the rice is creamy and done but with a bit of “tooth.”

Stir in the mushrooms, taste, and adjust seasonings. When the mushrooms are warmed through, remove from heat and stir in 1 Tbsp. of butter.

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