Seared Sea Scallops with Pistachio and Parmesan Risotto
½ lb. Arborio rice
⅛ c. olive oil
½ c. finely chopped Vidalia onion
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ c. chardonnay
1 c. chicken stock, warm
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c. roasted, unsalted pistachios, chopped
4 oz. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1½ lb. large sea scallops
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ c. butter or margarine
⅓ c. finely chopped pistachios
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
If the scallops are frozen, be sure to thaw, rinse, and then drain them well on paper towels. (If at all possible, it is best to buy dry-packed scallops, as they will not retain as much moisture and will be easier to sear correctly.)
For the risotto: In a medium sauce pan over medium to medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes until they sweat; add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Add the rice and toast, stirring constantly, as it cooks for a couple of minutes. Slowly add the wine and cook until it is completely reduced, stirring frequently. When the wine is completely gone, start adding the stock, a little at a time, and cook until the rice absorbs the stock, stirring once after each addition of stock; repeat until all of the stock is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, roasted pistachios, and Parmesan and gently stir it all together thoroughly.
For the Scallops: Preheat a cast iron skillet and stainless steel frying pan drizzled with olive oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the dried scallops and place them in the skillet, letting them cook for 3-4 minutes without touching, moving, or turning them. (This is necessary to sear them properly.) After the scallops have browned nicely on the first side, flip them and leave them to cook again for 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the pistachio nuts and parsley. Remove the scallops from the skillet, serve over prepared risotto with steamed asparagus, drizzle with pistachio butter, and serve immediately.