Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rosie Makes Seared Scallops With Parmesan Crisps, Risotto With Sundried Tomatoes And Spinach, Caramelized Leeks. And Don't Forget The Pesto.

My menu this afternoon is:
Bed of Risotto with Sun-dried Tomatoes,
Spinach, Wine, Cream, and Parmesan Cheese
 with a Parmesan Crisp and Seared Scallops atop,
 with a topping of Caramelized Onions,
 some Basil Pesto and a Carrot Sauce.
This is Youngest Hawthorne's favorite meal and if he wants it,
 he needs to ask for it precisely.
 And he always remembers everything exactly.
(Except the Carrot Sauce this time was extra.
I happened to have frozen carrot sauce I decided to use.)
The first thing I'm doing is making the Parmesan Crisps.
COARSE grate the cheese.
 I've made a failure or two of Parmesan Crisps and Cups
. One thing I've learned is to COARSE grate the cheese.
Set out 1/4 cup measures of Parmesan cheese.
I use parchment paper.
Spread out to 4 inch discs with hand or measuring cup.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

If you wanted to make Frico Cups,
then you should remove the Parmesan Rounds
before they become Parmesan Crisps.
 Bake the Parmesan Rounds for only 8-9 minutes.
Let sit in pan maybe 30 secs.
Take a thin spatula and, working with a helper
(They harden quickly.),
 immediately scrape rounds off the parchment
 and place the rounds over the bottoms of inverted muffin pans.
 Let the grease drain down and out.
Blot with paper towels.
Perfect little crisp.
I foraged through my freezer and found
2 ice cubes of my basil pesto (left)
and 2 ice cubes of my carrot sauce (right).
I had some carrot sauce in my freezer
I'd saved from when I made Cinnamon Girl's pasta with carrot sauce.
 Reeni has a wonderful blog with delicious recipes,
 so stop by Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice.
Back in August I made pesto.
Thawing out.
Nuke it before serving.
 On to the risotto.
My mise en place for the risotto:
 1/2 stick butter
 2 cups Arborio Rice
(A starchy, short-grained rice needed to make Risotto.)
4 sun-dried tomatoes steeped in boiling water
2 cups packed spinach
 6 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan
I heated my pan and added Extra Virgin Olive Oil
 and some (4 TB) Land O' Lakes Unsalted Buttah.
 When the butter just started to brown
(I love the nutty taste of browned butter.
Take it easy. Too much and you burn it.),
 I poured in 2 cups of Arborio Rice.
It's a short grain rice and full of starch, so it works for risotto.
Makes it nice and creamy.
Cook and stir.
Stir away in the butter/oil.
When the rice just starts to turn light brown,
add in chicken stock.
One quarter cup at a time.
Stir, letting the rice absorb the liquid.
 Risotto is something you need to baby.
Risotto is a labor of love.
When you want to get away for 30-45 minutes,
make risotto.
 Make it yours.
 Stand over it.
Saute the grains of rice.
 Slowly add in the consomme.
 Quarter cup at a time.
 Add in the chopped spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.
The heavy cream.
 The wine.
The Parmesan.
It is a thing of beauty.
 Oh.... Sorry. I got carried away with myself.
I haven't even shown you the pictures yet.
 Let's go to Caramelized Leeks.
I started chopping a leek today and couldn't quit.
I couldn't quit slicing ...
... and I couldn't quit shooting.
Don't you love God's patterns?

Sliced leeks went into olive oil and a tiny bit of browned buttah.

Move around.
Risotto coming along on left. Caramelized leeks working on the right.
I always add a bit of sugar to my veggies
to help bring out the natural sugars and to caramelize.
Cook a bit longer, then ...
... add in some white wine to steam.
Cover and set aside.
 Now, back to the risotto.

I took four large sun-dried tomatoes
 and covered them in boiling water.
 Let soften for about 30 minutes, then drain and dry.
Chop the sun-dried tomatoes.
 I have about 2 cups of packed spinach leaves.
Chop up the spinach.
After cooking the risotto for about 35 minutes,
 add in the spinach.
Add sun-dried tomatoes to risotto.
More chicken stock.
About a cup of wine.
A cup of grated Parmesan Cheese.
Half cup of cream.
Stir in cream.
Add in grated Parmesan.
Risotto is done.
Cover and be done with.
 Next step - the SCALLOPS!
Six huge scallops.
 Six servings.
Mais non.
This turns out to be $2.3183333333333333333333333333... per serving.
Can I have my own show now please Food Network??????
Rinse these precious jewels.
 Mr. Hawthorne complained of grit in his meal.
He attributed it to the scallops.
Neither Youngest Hawthorne nor I experienced any grit.
 I also served leeks which would be a prime source of grit,
 but I washed it fastidiously.
Beautiful huge ocean scallops. Dry on paper towels. For proper sauteing, your scallops must be dry. And by dry, I mean dry both literally and figuratively. Literally, I patted the rinsed scallops until they were dry. Figuratively, the scallops are what we call "dry" scallops, as opposed to "wet" scallops. Wet scallops have been injected with a solution of sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) which helps the scallops maintain their moisture, plumps them up, and gives them a longer shelf life. It adds extra weight to the scallops for which you will be paying. The worst part is the chemical gives the scallops a milky appearance and no matter how hot your pan and oil, you will never be able to brown or sear these scallops because of all the excess moisture. The STP also changes the texture of the scallops (Rubber comes to mind.) and masks the sweetness and delicacy of their flavor. I would never buy wet scallops knowingly. Now, those of you who live in the heartland of the country, please, let me know if you can even get dry scallops. You can usually tell the difference by looking at the scallops. Wet scallops will be soaking in a milky-like liquid. Dry scallop liquid is clear. If you don't know and can't tell, always ask the fishmonger. If they don't know, go to another fishmonger.
Season with freshly ground pepper and Old Bay Seasoning.
These scallops are beautiful.
Heat pan, add extra virgin olive oil and butter,
heat up, place scallops in, one at a time.
 Do NOT Crowd.
 Three minutes on the first side.
 RESIST the temptation to push the scallops around.
Put 'em in and leave 'em.
Cook about 2 minutes.
Turn over.
And cook for maybe 2 more minutes.
Turn scallops on sides and deglaze with white wine.

Bed of risotto on bottom.
 Next a Parmesan crisp.
Seared scallop on crisp.
Nest of Caramelized Leeks with Basil Pesto and Carrot Sauce.

Here, I have some of the Deglazed Scallop Juices.

I don't know what to say about this
except I started making it at 12:54 this afternoon and I served it at 3:35.
Then I washed dishes and cleaned up until 4:27.
 And it was worth every minute.


Marilyn said...

Looks lovely, dear.

Here in southern Indiana the scallops are only available frozen. And really, would you want to purchase "fresh" scallops this far inland?

However, I only buy scallops that are "dry". How can you tell? There is only one ingredient listed on the bag: scallops.

Anonymous said...

Looks Delicious!!! Thanks for another great recipe!

Anonymous said...


Here in WI, you can get fresh dry scallops at most grocery stores that have a decent fish counter. They are usually at least 4 dollars more a pound vs the wet scallops. Totally worth it in my opinion. We also have 2 or 3 seafood wholesalers in town where you can buy pretty much anything.

Mr. P said...

So, how do you eat something like that without ruining the nice tower you made?

Garlicpbo said...

beautiful....just beautiful!