Two days ago, I got a brand-spanking new gas convection oven with five burners and it's fabulous! I'm so excited since the one we got rid of was an eyesore and only two burners worked, one of which only worked sometimes. It's a wonder that I made such great meals on that oven. But it's on its way to the appliance graveyard. Good riddance.
So the very first meal I made with my fabulous new oven was scallops. And I made them for the master of our household, my husband. Not master like we are slaves, but like King of the Castle, Leader of the Pack, the Man of the House, King of the Hill. You get the picture. When it comes to seafood, scallops are his favorite. And, since he bought me that new oven, he gets what he wants.
I asked my husband to pick up some scallops on his way home. When I ask my husband to go to the store for me, it's usually interesting to see what he brings back. He always goes for the biggest and best. One time he brought back some ginormous 2-inch-thick pork chops. Now, don't get me wrong. Those pork chops were darn tasty. So the scallops he bought, of course, were the big U/10 scallops, which means only about 10 make up a pound.
I chose to pan sear these scallops. Pan searing something is a quick way to bring a lot of flavor and slight crispiness to whatever you are cooking. The browned crust packs a punch of flavor. I wouldn't recommend using bay scallops for this since they are more delicate and break up easier. If you can't find U/10 scallops, buy the sea scallops.
To accompany these gorgeous scallops, I made a beautiful Risotto with mushrooms, pancetta and peas. Only the best for the master.
2 lbs U/10 scallops (or sea scallops)
1/2 C butter
Salt & pepper
Juice of half a lemon
NOTE: Be careful during this cooking process since the butter and olive oil have a tendency to spatter and spit. Also, the watch the butter because it can burn quickly. If it starts browning, turn the heat down a little.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Coat the pan with olive oil. Place the scallops in the pan in a single layer. Season the top side with salt and pepper. Cook until they are browned on the bottom, then flip them over. Season the new top side with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on the bottom. Remove from heat and squeeze the lemon juice over the scallops.
PANCETTA, PEA & MUSHROOM RISOTTO
2 shallots, diced
4 T butter, divided in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
8-ounce package mushrooms, sliced
2 C arborio rice
4-5 C chicken stock, kept warm on the stove
1 C white wine
1/4 lb pancetta, diced
1 C frozen peas
1/4 C Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 C Parmesan cheese, shaved (shredded is okay too)
**NOTE: The pancetta, chicken stock, and Parmesan cheese will salt the risotto on its own. Wait until the risotto is completely done, taste it, and then add salt if it's needed.
Drizzle some olive oil in a skillet. Heat the skillet over medium high heat and cook the pancetta until crispy. Drain on a paper towel.
Melt half of the butter in the same skillet and add in the mushrooms. Add in more olive oil if necessary. Cook until browned and done. Remove from heat.
In a large dutch oven or pot, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Drizzle some olive oil in the potand cook the shallots until they are tender. Add in the rice and stir, browning slightly. Pour in the wine and cook about 2 minutes to absorb. Add in the garlic now. Using a ladle, spoon a ladleful of the chicken stock into the rice. Cook and stir constantly until the liquid is almost gone. Add in another ladleful and keep doing that until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender. If the rice still isn't tender, continue with about 1 C of water at a time until done.
Remove from heat. Stir in pancetta, mushrooms, peas, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Season with pepper and salt if necessary.