Hurricane Irene struck last week while I was home in NJ visiting my parents. We had three full days without power which resulted in me breezing through an entire book, blow drying my hair under a bar hand dryer out of desperation, and eating out for basically every meal. We ended up at a place called Houlihan’s for one of those meals and two of my family members were raving about this new item on the menu – “Seared Georges Bank Scallops” which was a version of the recipe below. Whenever I see something fun and delicious while out to eat, I find myself wondering if I can make it myself at home. As it turns out, I could!
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
Box of Risotto
1 ½ Cup Chopped Asparagus
2 ½ Cups Chicken Stock
5-6 Fresh Scallops Per Plate
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper
I basically followed this recipe for the risotto with a few minor changes:
1. I skipped the thyme...the strong flavor of it just didn’t seem fitting for scallops.
2. I cooked the asparagus with the onion right away so it would be extra tender.
3. I just got a box of flavored risotto, threw out the seasoning and used 2.5 cups of chicken broth which turned out to be a perfect amount for two people.
4. Instead of only using the lemon on the risotto, I cut it in half and used the juice from one half for the risotto and the other I reserved to squeeze over the scallops while they were cooking.
While the risotto was cooking (make sure to keep stirring in your liquid gradually) I poured the olive oil AND butter into a pan over medium heat (having them cook in both is important for the flavor). I seasoned the scallops with just a little S&P, and garlic powder, then put a good sear on them for about 5 minutes on each side. You can sear them for a much shorter time (1.5 minutes on each side), but I like them pretty thoroughly cooked since I’m not a huge fan of the texture. During the last minute of cooking on each side I squeezed fresh lemon juice over them which was a delicious touch!
First scoop a generous serving of risotto onto the plate, then a handful of spinach, and top that off with your scallops. Voila – a tasty restaurant quality meal at home! You can see my happy taste testing boyfriend below as proof. (BONUS-you can use the rest of that white wine to drink with your dinner :)