Scallops and Herbed Risotto

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If you’re celebrating something this is the dish for you! Yet it’s so easy to make you could go for it on a weekday as well.

Scallops and Herbed Risotto
For the Herbed Risotto:
1 1/2 cups Risotto/Arborio rice
6 cups Chicken or Vegetable stock
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Onion (finely chopped)
1 cup White Wine
2 tablespoons Fresh Herbs (Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Tarragon, etc.)
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper

Heat up the chicken stock in a large sauce pan and set aside.
In a large heavy bottomed saute pan heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the diced onion, cook until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and half the fresh herbs.

Add the rice and stir to ensure it gets coated thoroughly in the oil. Toast the rice for about 3 minutes.
Add the wine. When the wine is all absorbed you can start to add the stock one ladle full at a time.

Ladle the hot stock into the rice by half cup increments, stir and wait until all the stock is absorbed until you add more. Continue with this process until the rice is fully cooked and tender. About 20-30 minutes.
You might not need all the stock, I always give the rice a taste every 10 or so minutes to test for doneness.

Right before you add the last couple of ladles full of stock add the rest of the fresh herbs. Lastly, stir in the parmesan cheese.

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For the Scallops:
1 lb. large Scallops (about 10-15)
4 tablespoons Compound Butter (divided) or, Plain Unsalted Butter if you’d rather.
2 tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
Chopped Fresh Chives
Salt & Pepper

In a heavy bottomed sauté pan turned to medium high, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pat the scallops dry with a tea towel or paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 5-7 of the scallops into the butter and fry for about 2 minutes or until golden brown on one side. Flip and then fry for another 2 mins. Remove and place on a warm plate and cover with foil while working on the next batch.
Correctly cooked scallops are rare in the middle.
Repeat procedure for the remaining scallops.
Remove the scallops and place on the plate. Whisk in the heavy cream and reduce for 2-5 minutes, or until it is thickened.

Serve with the Risotto, the cream sauce poured over. Garnish with chives.

Valentine’s Dinner

Valentine's dinner

There’s nothing more romantic, (and dare I say it? Sexy.) than making your Valentine a lovely, juicy steak dinner. With all the traditional sides, of course!
Let’s break the meal down by what to get started on first.

Compound Butter
This can be made days ahead.

1 stick (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter (room temp)
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
pinch of Salt & Pepper
Place the butter out on the counter to soften for about 2 hours.
Mix the butter, herbs, salt and pepper together.
Scoop the butter into little balls and refrigerate until dinner time.

Roast Potatoes
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

1-2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Cut the potatoes into about a 2 inch dice. Leave the skins on, they give great flavor.
Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle a good amount of salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes in the oil until well covered and place in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with a silicone mat or parchment. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.

After 30 minutes, go in and toss the potatoes around with a spatula then spread into a single layer again.
They should be golden and crisp on the outside and cooked and soft on the inside.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Just before you remove the potatoes, start on your steak.

Perfect Steak for Two
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

1 12oz. (Large) Boneless Ribeye Steak
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Generous amount of Salt and Pepper.

Leave the meat out of the refrigerator (covered) and allow it to come up to room temp.
You never want to put a cold piece of meat in a hot pan as the cooking times will be off.

Preheat a large oven safe frying pan (I use my cast iron fry pan) over high heat on the stove top.
The pan should be dry, don’t add any oil.
Brush the olive oil on both sides of the steak and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Place the steak into the hot pan and saute` for 3 minutes on each side, or until you have a nicely browned “crust”.
Place the frying pan with the steak into your preheated oven and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes for medium rare.
Take the pan out of the oven and set the steak aside to rest under foil for 10 minutes.

Brandy Pan Sauce
1/2 cup Brandy or Cognac
1 tablespoon butter (cold)
There should be enough residual heat in the pan to make the sauce with out heating it over the stove. If not, place your frying pan with the meat drippings over medium heat on the stove top.
Add the brandy and whisk for about 2 minutes so the lovely browned bits reduce to a sauce.
Add the butter and whisk to slightly thicken.

There’s not much sauce there but, it’s packed with flavor!

To serve the steak, carve against the grain into 1/2 inch slices. Spoon the pan sauce, and place a pat of your Compound Butter (see above) on the steak.

While your steak rests and after you’ve made your pan sauce…..

Petit Pois with Mint
Sounds fancy until you realize it’s baby peas. I won’t tell if you don’t!

1/2 package (6oz.) frozen Petite Baby Peas
4 tablespoons Butter
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoons chopped Fresh Mint.

Chop the mint and set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl add the butter, peas, salt and pepper. You don’t really want another dirty pan to clean do you?
Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time.
Add the fresh mint to the peas and stir to combine.

That right there is LOVE! If they don’t swoon over this meal, and you too, maybe you ought to see other people!