If you love seafood, you’re going to love this incredible scallop recipe with mushroom risotto! I’m making jumbo, pan-seared scallops with a zesty lemon, caper and dill sauce. The scallops are extra juicy and delicious and perfect with my creamy mushroom risotto! The mushroom risotto is super easy to prepare and it makes this seafood recipe even more special. Enjoy this seafood dinner for a special occasion or holiday, just as Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve! Want to make this for a romantic dinner for two? Simple prepare half the recipe!
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Making the Mushroom Risotto
Before I get started with the scallops for this seafood dinner, I make my creamy and delicious mushroom risotto. Scallops cook very quickly and since the risotto takes longer to make, it’s a good idea to make it first. First, I sauté my mushrooms in butter until they’re softened and browned. My favorite mushrooms for risotto are chanterelles but they’re not always in season, so shitake mushrooms are my second choice. You can also use white or cremini mushrooms. Once I have my mushrooms ready, I set them aside and sauté the shallots in butter also. You don’t want to brown the shallots, just cook them for a couple minutes until they’re soft.
- Next, I add the rice and garlic and toast the rice for a couple minutes until the butter is absorbed before adding the white wine. The wine adds great acidity and balance to the risotto and the alcohol will reduce while the risotto cooks. If you don’t want to add wine, replace it with 1 cup vegetable broth and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Next, I slowly start adding my hot vegetable broth, about ¼ cup at a time. I keep adding the broth slowly and whisking the risotto until the rice is cooked, about 22 minutes.
- I usually wait to return the mushrooms into the risotto until it’s almost done. This way, the mushrooms keep their shape better!
Tips for the Perfect Risotto!
Risotto can seem like an intimidating rice dish to prepare but it’s actually quite easy to make. Plus, you’ll love the flavors of this mushroom risotto with the pan-seared scallops! Here are a few tips for making perfect risotto every time:
- Toast the Arborio rice in the butter with the shallots and garlic before adding any liquids. Allowing the rice to absorb the butter and toast slightly will increase the flavor! I recommend using only Arborio rice, which is a traditional risotto rice, for best results.
- Keep the broth simmering on the side and add it slowly. It’s important to have the broth hot since each time you add some into the risotto, it reduces the temperature. By having the broth warm, it will reduce the cooking time and your risotto will cook faster and more evenly.
- Whisk the mushroom risotto constantly! Whisking the rice ensures that it cooks evenly and it gives the risotto a creamy texture without adding any dairy!
- Keep the risotto warm! And serve it as soon as possible! Risotto will thicken and become more gummy as it stands so I recommend serving it asap!
How to Make Pan-Seared Scallops
Once I have my mushroom risotto all done, it’s time to make those incredible lemon caper pan-seared scallops! Before I start cooking them, I first pat them dry with paper towels. It’s very important that the scallops are as dry as possible; this will allow you to get the best caramelization and color! I also season them lightly with salt. Next, I preheat my frying pan with oil until it’s very hot! This step is also important because the scallops should be cooked as quickly as possible. I like to use a stainless steel pan since it can be heated to much higher temperatures.
Once my pan is nice and hot, I add my scallops in a ring along the edge of my preheated pan. By cooking them on the outer edge, the scallops will all cook evenly. Cook jumbo scallops about 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side, until they’re caramelized and nicely browned. Don’t overcrowd the pan as this will cause the scallops to cook longer and unevenly. Once my scallops are done, I remove them onto a paper towel to absorb excess oil while I make my sauce.
- Please note: I used extra-large, jumbo scallops for my recipe. If you are using smaller scallops, make sure to reduce the cooking time. For medium scallops, cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes maximum. For small scallops, cook about 1 minute per side.
Easy Lemon Caper Sauce
To make this seafood dinner really shine, I love to make a simple lemon and caper sauce to go along with the pan-seared scallops. This zesty sauce helps break up the richness of the mushroom risotto, creating a well-balanced dish!
Once I have my scallops cooked, I simply melt a couple tablespoons of butter and add a few tablespoons of capers to the pan. I cook this mixture over medium heat, then add in a splash of white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. After cooking briefly, I add the fresh dill and parsley at the end before returning the scallops to the pan. Don’t forget to remove the pan from the heat so the scallops don’t continue cooking!
Serving the Dish
It’s important to work quickly and serve the dish as soon as you have the scallops ready. I recommend having your dinner plates ready to go and have your guests anticipating to eat shortly. This way, everyone can enjoy a hot meal!
Keep the mushroom risotto warm and ready to go while preparing the pan-seared scallops. Once the scallops are done, spoon some risotto onto each plate, then top with a 3 to 5 jumbo scallops and add a couple tablespoons of lemon caper sauce. Serve the scallops immediately! I don’t recommend reheating them as this will cause them to be overcooked and rubbery.
Enjoyed this special seafood recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Butter-Poached Lobster Tails – another fancy and delicious seafood dinner with tender lobster served with simple risotto!
- Salmon Coulibiac – this traditional Russian salmon puff pastry is filled with mushroom rice, eggs and salmon coated with lemon dill sauce!
- Clams Linguine – enjoy a restaurant-quality dish at home with my easy clam recipe, served with linguine pasta!
- Creamy Crab Pasta – another delicious pasta recipe with creamy and cheesy sauce and fresh crab!
- Wild Sea Bass Dinner – buttery, flaky sea bass with garlicy spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms! Easy, 30-minute meal!
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Pan-Seared Scallops with Mushroom Risotto (video)
For Mushroom Risotto:
- ¼ cup salted butter, divided
- 12 to 14 small mushrooms, sliced (shitake, white or cremini)
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 3 to 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine, such as pinot grigio
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
For Pan-Seared Scallops:
- 16 to 20 jumbo scallops
- Cooking oil with high smoking point, such as avocado
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 2 to 3 tbsp capers, drained
- ¼ cup white wine
- Zest from 1 to 2 lemons
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- Begin the recipe with the mushroom risotto. The scallops cook very quickly, and the risotto can be kept warm on the side. Pour the vegetable broth in a small saucepan and bring it up to a simmer. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the salted butter. To the melted butter, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté them for 7 to 8 minutes, until they’re browned and softened. Season the mushrooms with salt when they’re almost done. Set the mushrooms aside.
- Into the same pan, with the heat on medium, add 2 tablespoons of butter and the diced shallot. Cook the shallot for a couple minutes until it’s softened but not browned. Add the minced garlic and Arborio rice next and cook for a couple minutes until the rice absorbs the butter.
- Next, add in the white wine and cook for a couple minutes until the wine is completely reduced. Now, begin adding the vegetable broth, ¼ to 1/3 cup at a time. Make sure to keep the broth simmering! Whisk the risotto until the broth is almost completely reduced after each addition, then add more broth. Continue adding the broth slowly and whisking until the rice is cooked, about 22 to 25 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan when the rice is almost done cooking and season the risotto with salt to taste. If desired, whisk in some grated parmesan cheese once the risotto is cooked.
- Keep the risotto covered and warm while preparing the scallops.
- For the scallops: place the fresh jumbo scallops on a tray lined with paper towels to absorb any liquids. Gently press a paper towel sheet on top of the scallops to help absorb any moisture. Season the scallops lightly with salt.
- Preheat a large frying pan over high heat and add a generous amount of cooking oil if using a stainless steel pan. The pan and oil need to be extra hot!! I recommend using avocado oil, which has a high smoking point. Once the pan is hot, add about 7 to 9 scallops in a ring along the edge of the pan; the scallops will cook more evenly this way. Do not overcrowd the pan!! Cook the scallops for 1 ½ to 2 minutes maximum per side, until the scallop is caramelized. Turn and cook on the other side.
- Once the scallops are cooked, remove them onto a tray lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Repeat the process with the remaining scallops.
- Important note: my timing is for jumbo/extra-large scallops. For medium scallops, cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes maximum. For small scallops, cook about 1 minute per side.
- To prepare the sauce, clean the scallop pan or use a new pan. Heat it over medium-low heat and add the last 2 tablespoons of butter. To the melted butter, add the capers and cook for a minute. Next, add in the wine, lemon zest and lemon juice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fresh herbs last and remove the sauce from heat.
- Add the scallops into the prepared lemon sauce and toss to coat them. Make sure to remove the sauce from heat so the scallops don’t continue to cook.
- To serve, spoon the risotto onto a dinner plate and top with 3 to 5 scallops per serving. Add a tablespoon of lemon sauce over each serving and enjoy immediately! This dish should not be left to stand and should not be reheated. Reheating will overcook the scallops, causing them to become rubbery.
- Want to make this recipe for a romantic dinner for two? Prepare half a recipe of mushroom risotto and reduce the number of jumbo scallops to 10; I recommend making the same amount of sauce.