Right then my foodie friends, pan-fried scallops with leek risotto. Or, as you’ll see, any seafood with leek risotto! Yep, this is a very versatile dish and you can use any seafood you like. I’ve used scallops for Jen because she loves them but as I’m allergic to them, I’ve also pan-fried some cod for me. Both were fantastic and very yummy.
First the scallops:
And now the cod:
Now, those of you with a keen eye will note that I’ve not used the word recipe yet. That’s because this is really a dish as a whole and, therefore, a number of smaller recipes, or cooking techniques.
The risotto needs to be cooked and is a recipe in its own right. There are the scallops and cod, and also the griddled asparagus. I’ll run through all of these individually. However, note that in terms of order of cooking, you can cook the risotto and then leave for the 10 minutes you’ll need for the seafood and asparagus. We will also make a quick and easy butter, garlic and lemon sauce to drizzle over the seafood.
To that end, I’ll start with the risotto.
1. Make the risotto
As always, the first thing is to get all of the ingredients together. Measure anything that needs measuring. The rice, wine and stock, for example, and get all other ingredients in bowls or on plates so you have everything to hand ready to start cooking.
Now let’s start making the risotto.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that there is a difference between what I term an active dish and a passive dish. Any risotto is an active dish and will need constant attention so be prepared not to leave the saucepan’s side for the next 20 minutes or so.
Right then, first of all, take a reasonably sized saucepan and add the oil over medium heat. Then add the butter. Once the butter has melted turn the heat down and sweat the leeks off. Use the lid of the pan for this and, in effect, steam the leeks. You do not want these to fry and go dark. The leeks are for flavour and should remain soft and translucent. This sweating off process will take around 5 minutes or so.
Now add the rice and mix in all of the leeks and oils. Cook for around 3 minutes or until the rice starts to look translucent on the edges.
Next, add a ladle full of stock to the saucepan and reduce the liquid down by 3/4. Again, don’t let the pan run dry. Keep adding a ladle of stock and reduce until all of the stock has been added. The pot will appear to be growing in size even though you are reducing the liquid. Don’t be concerned about this. This is the rice absorbing the lovely stock.
Once you have reduced most of the stock and the dish looks creamy in texture taste the rice and make sure it’s quite soft, but not mushy. You still want the rice to have some “chew” to its texture. Finally, add some Maldons seas salt and ground black pepper to taste. Now set aside off the heat.
2. Cook the seafood
The scallops take around 6 minutes and the cod for 8 minutes. But the sauce and asparagus both need to be ready at the same time. For this, put a small pot of salted water onto boil for the asparagus and take the butter and put it on a low heat to melt in a small saucepan or skillet.
a) The scallops
Nothing special here because we have a lot of flavour going on elsewhere. Just heat a small frying pan and add some olive oil and a small knob of butter. Place the plan on medium heat. Season the scallops on both sides and place in the heated pan.
Fry the scallops for around 3 minutes on each side until they look like this on both sides.
b) The cod
Cook the cod in the same way as the scallops except for 4 minutes each side and continue to baste the fish throughout the cooking process. Personally, I like a crispy outside to the cod so I tend to use a slightly higher heat than medium. If you do this, though, keep an eye on the fish as you do not want to burn it.
3. Cooking the asparagus
Asparagus is a very tender vegetable and needs very little cooking. The last thing you want is mush and sodden asparagus. The method I use is to boil the asparagus spears for 30 seconds only and then flash cool in iced water. You can do this before you even start the risotto if you want.
When ready to cook just remove the asparagus from the water, season with salt and pepper and pan-fry in oil and butter for around 1 minute. You should then have a nicely seasoned and crunchy asparagus spear. Great with this seafood risotto dish.
4. Make the butter, lemon and garlic sauce
This is a very simple sauce and should be used sparingly. There is no doubt you will make too much but resist putting too much over the seafood. It’s a very rich sauce.
First, melt the butter slowly in a small pan.
Bring the butter to the boil then immediately add the garlic and lemon juice. Cook through for literally 15 seconds and then take off the heat.
That’s it. Make the sauce just before you serve up so that it is fresh and there is no need to heat up again.
5. Serve the scallops and cod with the risotto
When you are happy that the scallops, cod, and garlic a lemon butter sauce is almost ready it’s time to finish and serve the risotto. First, take the pan and place over low heat. If the risotto seems a little dry add one more ladle of stock, although, in truth, it should be ok. Once the risotto has heated up add the lemon zest and juice and stir in the grated parmesan cheese until melted.
Now the fun part. Take a rosti tin and place it on your serving plate. Spoon enough of the risotto into the rosti tin so that it fills 3/4 of the tin. Now leave one the plate while you collect the seafood and asparagus.
With the seafood and asparagus close by ease the rosti tin from the rice. The rice should stay in shape. Then lay the seafood on the top of the risotto and add the asparagus. Finally, drizzle the butter, garlic and lemon juice sauce over the seafood. Not too much, there is already a lot of flavour in the dish.
Then, whala! A wonderful looking and very tasty seafood and leek risotto dish, whatever seafood you fancy. This is a fantastic dish and I highly recommend giving it a go. Yum!
OK, that’s it my fine food friends. I do hope you enjoyed this one. Why not look at a few more great recipes from The Yum Yum Club like those below…
As always, many thanks for reading and until next time…Steve.
6. Printable recipe
Pan-fried cod with leek risotto! What a seafood recipe. Such a tasty dish & very versatile. Use any seafood with the risotto. Yum! | theyumyumclub.com
- For the risotto
- 300 grams Arborio or other risotto rice
- 75 grams unsalted butter
- 2 leeks cleaned and sliced
- 150 ml white wine
- 850 ml vegetable or chicken stock
- Olive oil
- Zest from one lemon
- Juice from one lemon
- 100 grams grated fresh pamesan cheese
- For the sauce
- 150 grams unsalted butter
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- Other Ingredients
- 1 thick portion of of cod loin
- 1 packet of asparagus tips
First, get all of the ingredients measured out and grouped together.
Now make the risotto but firstly heating some oil and butter over a medium heat and sweating off the leaks for 5 minutes. The add the rice and mix in until the ends start to go translucent. About 3 minutes.
Now, add the wine and reduce to almost nothing. Then add the stock a ladle at a time and reduce by 3/4 before adding the next ladle. Continue until all of the stock is used up or until the risotto is nice and creamy and the rice still has a little "chew" in its texture. At this stage set aside.
Heat a small pan of water to boil and boil the asparagus for 30 seconds and refresh in ice cold water.
Season and pan-fry the cod in and pan-fry for 4 minutes either side.
Now season and griddle the asparagus for 1 minute. Alas, add the garlic and lemon juice to the boiling butter for 15 seconds and remove from the heat.
Finally, serve by moulding the risotto in a rost tin and serve with the fish and asparagus on top, or to the side, and drizzle a small amount of the sauce all over.
There you have it. A wonderful leek risotto topped with seafood and served with asparagus and a butter, lemon and garlic sauce. Yum!