Seared Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Lemon Risotto

I think you’re officially a fat kid when you base your vacations and trips around food. My family has always done this (don’t judge) and now it’s been passed down to me. Luckily Nick is the same way, so it works out! Before we even left for our trip to Pensacola last weekend, we knew there were two places we were definitely visiting while we were there. The most delicious bagel place I have yet to find south of Jersey, and our much loved, much missed, favorite fish market. We stocked up at both places before we hit the road home.

At the fish market, the scallops were calling out to me. Big sea scallops are definitely at the top of my favorite seafoods list. We picked up a bag, packed it on ice, and headed home with delicious dinner ideas in mind.

Seared Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Lemon Risotto

(adapted from The Unemployed Cook)

serves 4

for risotto:

  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • fresh ground pepper & salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

for scallops:

  • 2 lbs large sea scallops
  • fresh ground pepper & salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • splash white wine
  • 1 bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1 small shallot, minced

Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 minced shallots and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until opaque and toasty smelling, about 3 minutes.

Add one cup chicken stock, increase heat to bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring continuously, until liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until all liquid is absorbed. Season with salt & pepper, add zest, and continue cooking another 5 minutes until rice is just tender.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parmesan. Stir in remaining butter and serve immediately.

Meanwhile, to cook scallops, heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter is foamy. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add them to the pan and cook, without touching them, about 2 minutes, until edges are beginning to turn golden brown.

Flip scallops and cook another 2 minutes, until cooked through.

Remove scallops from the pan. Add the white wine and shallots to the pan to deglaze it, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook 1 minute, then add the spinach, salt & pepper, and use tongs to toss the spinach in the pan until wilted.

Serve risotto topped with spinach and scallops.

The scallops came out perfectly cooked, thanks in part to my brand new big girl Calphalon pans (thanks to those who gave me Williams-Sonoma gift cards for Christmas!). What a difference nice, expensive pans make. I think this is also the prettiest meal I’ve made in a while. It was so impressive! And delicious, of course. I thought lemon and parmesan seemed like an odd combo, but the risotto was awesome, and the perfect fresh and bright complement to the scallops and spinach. I wish I could have huge delicious scallops every night!

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