Sea Scallops with Lemon Risotto & Buttery Pan~Seared Artichokes

By | November 2, 2019
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 Ode to the Artichoke

The soft~hearted artichoke put on its warrior suit and, straight-backed, built a little dome. Underneath its scales,

it was impenetrable.

Right next to it crazed vegetables bristled and twisted themselves into creepers, cattails, or histrionic bulbs.

Beneath the earth slumbered red~whiskered carrots, the earth sucked dry the vines that draw wine from the soil,

cabbages spent their time trying on skirts, and oregano labored to fill the world with perfume, and all the while sweet

artichokes in their corner of the garden dressed for war, like shiny pomegranates, and just as proud.

 

One day they marched through the market, side by side in wicker baskets, to make their dream come true:  to be soldiers. All lined up, they were never more warlike than that day at the fair. The men in white shirts who stood amidst the vegetables, they were the artichokes’ officers. Tight formation, the drill sergeant’s screams, drumroll of a falling crate.

 

But then along comes Maria with a basket on her arm. She picks up an artichoke fearlessly, she looks it over, she holds it up to the light as if it were an egg. She buys it and sticks it in her bag along with a pair of shoes, a cabbage and a bottle of vinegar; back in the kitchen, she drops it in the pot. This is how the career of the armored vegetable we call an artichoke comes to a peaceful end. For the final act we reveal  its delicious flavor, plucking it leaf by leaf, and devour the peaceable dough that lies at its green heart.

 

Text  ~ Odes  To Common Things, by Pablo Neruda {translated by Ken Krabbenhoft}

Buttery Pan~Seared Artichokes

Ingredients

  1. 1 teaspoon of salt
  2. 4 whole artichokes
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  5. 1 lemon, washed, ends trimmed and thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. To a medium pot, add three inches of water and season the water with the salt. Turn the heat to medium high until the water reaches a light simmer. Meanwhile, trim the artichokes. To do so, start by trimming the ends of the stem and cutting off the top of the artichoke. Grab a pair of scissors and trim each of the petals, discarding the pointy tops. Slice the artichoke in half and using a spoon {a serrated grapefruit spoon works well here}, scoop out the furry center. Transfer the artichoke halves to the simmering water, cut side down and allow to cook for 20 minutes, until the stems are tender when poked with a fork. Carefully remove the artichokes to a colander to drain completely.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the butter. When the butter has browned, add the sliced lemon and artichokes, cut side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, until there’s a visible light-sear on the artichokes as well as the lemon slices. Remove and serve immediately.

Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

Note:  these artichokes turn out so incredibly tender and buttery!  If you like to enjoy your artichokes with some type of dip check out this Ponzu Aioli.  We skipped the dip route as our artichokes were being served alongside a rich, creamy risotto for this dinner but, for an appetizer that aioli sounds wonderful!

As for the Scallops & Lemon Risotto…

IMG_9394

An incredibly smooth, creamy & rich {thanks to the addition of some mascarpone cheese} risotto that avoids the realm of “heavy” due to the infusion of fresh, bright lemon juice and zest.  The perfect bed for tender sea scallops which have been seared in golden butter…Pan~Seared Sea Scallops & Lemon Risotto

Ingredients

  1. 6 cups chicken stock {preferably homemade}
  2. 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  3. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  4. 1 medium yellow onion, peeled & finely chopped
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. 1 garlic clove, peeled & minced
  7. 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  8. 1/2 cup white vermouth
  9. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  10. 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  11. 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  12. 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  13. 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves {stems discarded} finely chopped
  14. 10 fresh sea scallops, washed and thoroughly dried

Instructions

  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, cover and keep hot. In another large, deep saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering and then add 2 tablespoons of the butter and melt. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly until glossy and the rice is well coated with the oil/butter mixture {a white dot should appear in each of the rice kernels as the glutinous covering becomes transparent}, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the vermouth to the rice and simmer over moderate heat until almost absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the hot stock, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring constantly between additions, until most of the stock has been absorbed before adding more. The rice is done when it’s tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes total. Stir in the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, the mascarpone, the lemon zest and juice, and the chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and cover the saucepan, set aside and keep warm.
  3. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and butter over medium~high heat until the butter is completely melted and begins to turn golden in color. Add the scallops to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd them and cook until a nice sear develops on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip each scallop and cook the same way until each is well seared on the other side, about another 3 minutes.
  4. Spoon the risotto onto individual serving plates and top with 2 scallops per plate. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Making sure the scallops are thoroughly dry before cooking will help them achieve a good, golden~brown sear. After rinsing the scallops in a colander, I like to use a paper towel to pat each dry and then I spread the scallops out on a plate and put them in the refrigerator to air dry in the cold until approximately 20 minutes before I want to cook them, removing them from the refrigerator at this time to come to room temperature prior to cooking.
Adapted from Food & Wine