Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Seared Diver Scallops with Saffron Risotto and Mango Cilantro Foam

Sometimes great dishes come from good inspiration. In this case, I was inspired by the dish I had at 'b' last night with zenchick before we attended the Harry Connick Jr. concert at the Meyerhoff. My dish was pan seared scallops with a saffron beurre blanc sauce and some Isreali Couscous with mango and red pepper. It was del-ish. And decadent. In order to make a decent beurre blanc sauce, you need about 4 sticks of butter, and it breaks down and separates easily like hollandaise sauce if you don't serve it immediately. So, as yummy as it is, it's not something you can readily make for one person, and the fat makes it a 'treat' dish - not a weeknight dinner.

*Side note: Beurre Blanc is a variant of one the Mother Sauces, and you should really learn to make them. They are a routine arsenal in fine cooking. A base upon which many things can be layered and adapted.

I had a bag of Diver Scallops in the freezer that I got at Wegmans a few weeks ago. I had saffron, cilantro, arborio rice, and figured I could get the creaminess and saffron flavor from the risotto, and the mango flavor from an emulsion. Anything can be creamy if you whip enough air into it. Red pepper is a natural with mango, and I used it for garnish and crunch.

There's plenty of risotto and mango foam left over for two more nights, and I only used half of the scallops, so I'll have scallops again tomorrow, and then perhaps a mahi-mahi filet or salmon to finish it up.

If you're also inpsired - here's how you do it.

Mango Cilantro Foam
1 ripe mango
1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp ginger paste
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lime
1.5 tsp of Dijon mustard (just do it)
2 Tb of canola oil

Put all the ingredients except the oil into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the oil with blade running and create a foamy emulsion. This will keep, and is good on fish, or chicken. It's light and flavorful.

Saffron Risotto
This is a classic Risotto Milanese - any classic cookbook has this recipe. Use chicken stock, lots of saffron, finish with 2 Tb of butter to make it shiny and creamy, and take your time. Use a small timbale or custard cup to make the mound.

Rinse 5 large scallops and pat dry with a paper. Season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan until hot, but not smoking. Sear scallops for 2-3 minutes per side until well caramelized and opaque all the way through.

Assemble and Enjoy
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:03 PM  
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