Risotto with scallops, lemon buerre blanc and pomegranate reduction

risotto-scallop-buerre-blanc2Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my newest favorite dish! I knew I wanted to make risotto this weekend and I have been thinking about a dish I had at a restaurant recently that had a really good pomegranate sauce, so I built this dish based off those two components. I also did an Instagram search for #risotto to look for plating inspiration.

Since I’ve acquired all these new handy dandy skills from class, I figured I’d put them to work and make my own veggie stock to use. One of my issues with using store-bought stock is that some of them are too dark, and it turns the rice dark, which I don’t like and definitely didn’t want for this particular dish. So, since there was no suitable excuse not to, I started the day slicing, chopping and boiling down my own vegetable stock. I got exactly the color I wanted.

I was worried that the pomegranate sauce might clash with the buerre blanc, or just create too much of a sweet note, but that didn’t happen. They worked marvelously together! I could swim in buerre blanc, it is SO good.

Look at those gorgeous scallops!

Look at those gorgeous scallops!

I had too much fun plating this and bless Terry’s heart, she is so patient. I have to get my pictures in before we eat, so often times she’s just sitting at the table waiting for me to get the shot I need and join her for the meal. I was so excited with how this looked, and when I tasted it, I nearly went through the roof. Every so often, I put out something just so amazing that I can’t even believe I made it myself. If I had a restaurant, this would totally be on my menu. It was so good, I can’t wait to make it again. I love it when something comes together and I get so excited about it, it just makes me want to keep pushing myself to do better every time!

If you want to make this for a dinner party, par-cook the risotto earlier in the day. You could also make the pomegranate sauce earlier too, and then reheat over the stove. The only thing you’d have to do last minute is sear the scallops (make sure your pan is screamin’ hot or you won’t get that beautiful sear), and make the buerre blanc. Depending on how far you cooked your rice, you may only need 5-10 minutes to finish it off. Plenty of time to get the scallops and buerre blanc done.

To serve, heat your dishes in a 200 degree oven so they are warm. This will help keep the risotto and the buerre blanc sauce from seizing up.  Sauce the plate with the buerre blanc, then layer on the risotto and the scallops. Be creative with your presentation – you could plate this so many different ways. Top with the pomegranate sauce and seeds and garnish with a chiffonade of spinach. Voila!

Tip: allow your scallops to come up to room temperature before searing. This way they won’t constrict when they get in the hot pan.

You will have leftover of both sauces. If you have leftover risotto, put some of the buerre blanc in with it. To use the pomegranate sauce, reheat in a pan on the stove over low heat. Mix well to reincorporate the ingredients.

Serves 2-4, depending on how many scallops you buy

Risotto

  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ white wine
  • 8 cups stock of your choice
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (I wouldn’t recommend frozen)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ lb scallops
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Pomegranate reduction

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • ½ tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp shallot, diced

Lemon buerre blanc

  • 4 oz white wine
  • 2 oz white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp shallot, diced
  • 8 oz whole butter (2 sticks), cut into tbsp. size portions
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp white pepper

Instructions

For the risotto: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in the onion and cook until almost translucent, about 6 minutes.

Add the rice and mix in to coat. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook down until it is fully absorbed.

Add 1 cup of the stock at a time, seasoning with salt and pepper until the rice is al dente. When the rice is almost done (about 25 minutes in), add the fresh spinach, cheese and 2 more cups of stock. When the spinach has wilted and been well mixed in to the risotto, turn the heat to low to keep warm until you serve.

For the pomegranate sauce: Put all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5-10 minutes and then reduce to a simmer until the sauce has reduced by almost half, about 30 minutes total. Taste as you go – you may not need the full 30 minutes to reduce depending on the flavor and consistency you want to have. Strain the sauce and keep warm in a pan until ready to use.

For the buerre blanc: Mix the wine, white wine vinegar, lemon and shallot in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce until there is only about 2 tablespoons left. Add in the cream, and reduce by half. Take the sauce off the heat and whisk in 1 tbsp of butter at a time, not adding more until the first piece has been fully absorbed. Once all the butter has been incorporated, strain and place back on the stove to keep warm. Season with salt and pepper. (Note, black pepper is ok to use too, just know that you’ll have black specks in your sauce. This is why white pepper is better, you wouldn’t have those.)

My new favoritest, good-looking best tasting dish. Bon Appetit!

My new favoritest, good-looking best tasting dish. Bon Appetit!

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