Caramelising the scallops on a hot griddle intensifies their sweetness, creating this richly flavoured scallop and summer vegetable risotto. The griddling in this recipe contrasts with the slow, braised flavours and textures of the risotto. It’s definitely worth the extra washing-up.
800ml hot chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
400g risotto rice
200ml white wine 40g Parmesan cheese, grated 1 tbsp mascarpone
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
16 large scallops, corals discarded if you prefer
2 lemons, halved
FOR THE DRESSING
3 tbsp chopped parsley
3 tbsp chopped basil
juice of 2 lemons
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE GRILLED VEG
1 green courgette, cut lengthways and sliced into half-moons lcm thick
1 yellow courgette, cut lengthways and sliced into half-moons lcm thick
12 cherry tomatoes on the vine
1 tbsp olive oil
Keep the stock simmering in a saucepan while you make the risotto. Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the fennel, onions and garlic for 5 minutes or until softened but not coloured.
Add the bay leaf and rice, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the wine, raise the heat and simmer until it has all evaporated, then add three-quarters of the hot chicken stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and waiting until each ladleful is absorbed before adding the next. This will take about 20 minutes.
To make the dressing, put the parsley in a small bowl and add the basil, lemon juice and oil, season and whisk well to combine.
To make the grilled veg, put the courgettes and tomatoes in a clean bowl and coat with the oil. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Season the veg and cook in the griddle for 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the herby dressing, then put to one side.
Add the remaining stock to the risotto, a ladleful at a time, stirring as before, until the rice is tender but still has a bite. Finish by stirring in the Parmesan, mascarpone, parsley and the remaining butter, stirring vigorously. Cover with a lid and leave to rest, off the heat, while cooking the scallops.
Heat the griddle pan to high and season the scallops generously. Cook on the hot griddle for 90 seconds on each side, adding the corals, if using, while cooking the second side, then add the lemon halves, cut side down, to lightly caramelise at the same time. To serve, divide the risotto between plates, put the scallops on top and serve with the courgettes and tomatoes. Drizzle generously with the herby dressing.
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By Simon Stallard