Dani and I just celebrated the first anniversary of our Yorùbá Engagement Ceremony–but c’mon, do you really think I need an excuse to make her something awesome?
In some ways, this is a re-imagined version of something I made for her a few years ago. Way before I knew how to make a risotto, I was up to my usual attempts to impress her, and made her some simply seared scallops. I figured this would be the perfect time to bring that idea into the present day with everything I’ve learned how to do since.
I originally wanted to use blood oranges in the vinaigrette, but couldn’t find any–so I settled for grapefruit, even though I have hated their flavor for my entire life. I needed something bitter-sweet to balance all of the other flavors–and it worked perfectly. I may never buy another grapefruit, but at least I discovered a way to tolerate them…
I had to laugh at myself when I couldn’t find any arugula at the market, and felt a little slighted…but baby kale was a worthy substitute in this case. I tossed in some chocolate mint– which is basically a slightly sweeter version of spearmint–because we have some growing outside, and it’s starting to take over everything. It gave the salad a unique flavor, and added an extra bit of nuance for the occasion.
There’s a lot happening on this plate–just like the first year of marriage–but stick it out, because it just keeps getting better.
8-10 Sea Scallops
4 Cups Baby Kale
6 Cups Arborio Rice
4 Cups Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Chocolate Mint Leaves
1 Cup Fresh Grapefruit Juice
2 Cloves of Garlic Confit, smashed
1 Shallot, minced
1 Cup Chardonnay (or preferred dry white wine)
1/2 Cup Parsley, minced
3 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
4 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Honey
1 Tbs Coriander
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 Tsp Saffron
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Transfer scallops to a large stack of paper towels, and dry completely. Season both sides with salt, and coriander. Place a heavy pan on med-high heat with half of the butter, and sear the scallops on both sides. Remove from heat, and let rest.
- Place chicken stock on med heat in a small pot, and add bay leaves, and saffron. Keep the stock at a simmer.
- In a second pan, melt butter on medium heat, and sauté shallots, and roasted garlic until they nearly dissolve. Stir in rice, and coat evenly, and adjust the heat to prevent caramelization. Season with salt and pepper. Use a ladle to transfer 1/2 Cup of stock to the rice, and stir gently until absorbed. Add half of the wine, and stir gently. Continue to add stock, and stir until the rice softens. Finish with wine and parsley.
- Combine grapefruit juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper and stir rapidly. Set aside.
- Combine kale, and mint in a large bowl, and dress lightly with the vinaigrette from the previous step.
- Plate and serve.