12 to 14small mushrooms, sliced (shitake, white or cremini)
1large shallot, diced
3 to 4minced garlic cloves
1cupwhite wine, such as pinot grigio
1cupgrated parmesan cheese, optional
For Pan-Seared Scallops:
16 to 20jumbo scallops
Cooking oil with high smoking point, such as avocado
2 to 3tbspcapers, drained
Zest from 1 to 2 lemons
Juice from 1 lemon
2tbspfreshly chopped dill
1tbspfreshly chopped parsley
For the Mushroom Risotto:
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 Pan-Seared 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.
Serving the Dish:
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.