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Diver Scallops with Blackberry Puree and Shiitake Risotto

from L.A.'s Original Farmers Market Cookbook by JoAnn Cianciulli
Diver Scallops with Blackberry Puree and Shiitake Risotto

1 pint blackberries
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
6 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand into small pieces
Needles of 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup olive oil
16 large diver scallops (about 1 1/2 pounds total weight)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bacon fat Shiitake Risotto (recipe follows) for serving
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Shiitake Risotto:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Japanese short-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warm
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Serves 4

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in L.A.'s Original Farmers Market Cookbook
from Chronicle Books


This gorgeous dish has been a hit since Kado opened its doors. Meaty scallops perched on velvety risotto are a heavenly match. Scallops' strong supple flavor stands up beautifully to many big-flavored, sturdy elements, like sweet-tart blackberries and smoky bacon fat.

In a small pot over medium heat, combine the blackberries, lemon juice, water, and sugar. Stir gently until the berries break down and release their juices. Strain the blackberry puree through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Set aside.

Combine the basil, rosemary, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until the oil is light green.

Season the scallops generously with salt and pepper and brush both sides with the herb oil. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon fat, swirling the pan to coat. When the fat is hot, add 8 of the scallops, and sear for 2 minutes, without moving them around. When the bottoms of the scallops look nicely browned, turn them over and sear the other side for 1 minute.

Using tongs, carefully transfer the scallops to a platter lined with paper towels to blot some of the oil. Repeat to cook the remaining scallops.

To serve, mound 1 cup of the Shiitake Risotto in the center of each of 4 plates. Arrange 4 scallops on top. Dot the blackberry puree on the center of each scallop and drizzle around the plate. Garnish with a shower of chopped parsley.

Shiitake Risotto

Making risotto is often thought to be a time-intensive affair, but this recipe is ready in about 30 minutes. Specialty mushrooms like shiitakes are prized for their earthy flavor and meaty texture. If fresh shiitake mushrooms are not available, substitute cremini.

Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the shallot and cook and stir until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the parsley and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well-coated and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the wine and cook for 1 minute to evaporate the alcohol.

Pour in 1 cup of the warm broth. Stir with a wooden spoon until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, then add another 1 cup. Keep stirring while adding the broth a cup at a time, allowing the rice to drink it in before adding more. You may not need all of the broth. Taste the risotto; it should be slightly firm but tender and creamy. Stir in the cream, butter, and cheese.

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