Scallops are our all-time favorite ingredient. Moreover, they combine perfectly with asparagus, which is the top spring ingredient. Today we will go for a risotto with this green gold. Yummie!
We will start with the Mediterraneo rice (Bosto). During a previous cooking session, the risotto tasted too much like the bouillon cubes we used, so this time we will try a bouillon jelly which has a much more subtle taste, but is still quite salty. So don’t forget to taste before adding salt! The best solution is of course to make your own bouillon, so if you can, pick a date, make a big kettle of bouillon and freeze everything by portion.
Making risotto is actually quite simple, however you absolutely need to keep an eye on it at all times, otherwise you may find yourself with a raw, gooey or burned dish.
To start, stew a chopped shallot in olive oil. Deglaze with white wine. After that, keep adding the bouillon spoon by spoon, to make sure the rice is only just submerged and let everything stew on low heat. Once the rice has the perfect bite, you can add some Parmesan and a knob of butter to give the dish an extra smooth effect.
White asparagus will give you quite some peel work, while the green ones only have a woody root end that needs to be removed. Once done, cut the asparagus horizontally in half. Cook the stems for about one and a half minute. Add the heads and cook for two more minutes. Now plunge them in cold water, that way they will keep their beautiful color.
Bake the scallops in butter. Don’t let them bake for too long, because the texture will get chewy otherwise. Once the scallops are ready, you just need to place them on top of the risotto and the asparagus. Almost ready….
We will decorate our plate with some luscious extras. First we will add a Hotami crisp that can be found at Hanos, but probably also in Asian supermarkets. This delicacy is a kind of crisp of air-dried scallops. On the wrapping it says that this can be described as the ultimate Umami flavor. The crispy texture combines well with the soft scallops.
To make sure the dish has some balance, we have added two kinds of cress. These are real taste bombs and they look great as decoration. Firstly there is the cumminseed-like Shiso Purle,that comes from the Northeast of Asia. Its taste fits asparagus, bouillon, fish and cheese perfectly. Secondly, we have the nutty Tahoon Cress, which comes from the Himalaya. This goes very well with salads.
We enjoyed a glass of Riesling Trocken with this dish (G.H. von MUMM, Johannisberger, Vogelsang 2012).