All week, I have been driving by Taylor Lobster and seeing an advertisement for fresh local bay scallops from Martha’s Vineyard. Since I LOVE cooking with fresh local ingredients, my mouth has been drooling to give these a go! Also this week, I had placed a request on my Facebook page (that generated a tremendous response of 2 people) to make a random ingredient suggestion to feature in a dish. The ingredient chosen was Sun-Dried Tomatoes. So I thought that I would use the “mystery” ingredient in a Chipotle and Sun Dried Tomato pesto. I had two ingredients to work with; I needed to round it out a bit more.
I wanted to pair the scallops with a risotto, but what type of risotto to make? I then remembered a dish my wife once made me called Arroz Poblano. Arroz Poblano is a classic recipe from the Mexican state of Puebla. It’s featured ingredients Chile Poblano, which once roasted, gives the dish a distinctive wonderfully earthy fresh flavor. The chile is pureed and cooked in chicken broth with rice. Just then a brilliant idea came into my head, Risotto Poblano! I also decided to stay in the Latin genre and substituted the parmesan cheese for Manchego. Since my claim to fame is the fusion of Mexican and Italian cuisines, I though why not!
So armed with my ingredients, a chef’s knife and my Girariso I set off to the kitchen!
Roasting the chile poblanos is a task that needs a bit of explanation. When using chile poblano, you usually roast them first, as it deepens the flavors and adds yet another dimension to the dish. When roasting, some people use a cast iron skillet, called a comal, or over an open flame on a gas stove. Since I do not have a gas stove I prefer to use my oven so I can keep my stove top free as my comal takes up two burners.
I set my oven to 500 degrees and set it on broil. Then I just simply rinse the chiles and place them on the top rack of my oven. When a side of the chile starts to bubble and starts to blacken, it is time to flip them. Do the same thing to the other side. When they are all nice and roasted, remove them from the oven and place in a plastic bag to sweat for about 10 minutes. Then all you do is remove the skins, slice them open and remove the seeds and membranes, and your chiles are ready to add to the blender!
I added the chile poblano, garlic, cilantro, and about a ½ cup of chicken broth to the blender and pureed the mixture to a nice paste, I then forced it through a medium mesh sieve into a bowl. Once it was in the bowl, I added a pinch of salt and my puree was ready for the risotto.
Now for the risotto; for those of you who have never made a risotto, don’t believe the hype, although it requires constant attention, it is fairly simple to make as long as you follow a few guidelines:
- Use only Arborio or Carnaroli rice.
- Heat the butter of oil so that it is hot but not smoking.
- Cook your onions or shallots until translucent, but do not brown them.
- Toast the rice in the fats.
- Add something acidic to the rice (white wine, red wine) and cook until it is absorbed.
- Make sure the broth you are using is kept to a simmer right next to you. It is important to keep the risotto at the same temperature during cooking. Adding cool broth would lower the cooking temperature and could lead to the rice not cooking properly.
- Add the liquid a bit at a time; I usually use a soup ladle that holds approximately a cup of broth at a time. Add the liquid over high heat, with continuous and constant stirring.
- Cook the risotto al dente (I usually start tasting the rice about 15 minutes into cooking), where the grains are still firm but tender to the tooth (i.e. Pasta), but still in a soupy surrounding.
- Don’t forget the final step, the Mantecatura. This is the step where you add the final touch of butter or olive oil and cheese to give it that beautiful silky, creamy, finish! Make sure you do this off the heat. Stir it rather vigorously in this step!
Those are the essential steps to making a successful risotto! In my recipe, after 15 minutes or so, I added the puree of poblano. At the Mantecatura, I simply added my butter and the manchego cheese and my risotto was complete!
The scallops were quite simple. I simply heated some clarified butter in a sauté pan. Once the butter was hot I added my scallops. I did not touch them for 2-3 minutes to let them get a bit of a sear on one side. I then turned them and quickly cooked for another minute. I then took them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set them aside. I added a nice tablespoon or two of the sun dried tomato and chipotle pesto to the sauté pan. I whisked it in to incorporate then re-added the scallops to the pan, tossed them gently off the heat and I was ready to serve!
To serve, I took a shallow bowl, put a serving of risotto in the center of the plate, and then scooped generous portions of scallops just on and off the side of the risotto. I finally took a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce and drizzled it around the edges of the bowl. Total time door to door is about 30 minutes!
Serve this dish with a great Argentinian Torrontes, such as the 2008 Valle de la Puerta Torrontes.
I will be travelling to Cleveland this Thanksgiving to visit with my family. So I will probably not be posting a new dish until the week of December 5th. Have a great and delicious Thanksgiving!
Sun Dried Tomato and Chipotle Pesto
- ½ Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes (from the jar packed in oil)
- 1 cup Fresh Cilantro – loosely packed
- 2 medium size chipotles (canned in adobo)
- 2 tablespoon Adobo sauce (from the can of chipotles)
- 2 tablespoons Sun Dried Tomato Oil (from the jar)
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor.
- Process into a nice paste, adding a little more of the sun dried tomato oil to get the consistency that you desire.
- Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.
- 2 cups Aborio Rice
- ½ White Onion
- 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 6 to 7 cups chicken broth
- 12 sprigs of fresh cilantro
- 2 large Fresh Chile Poblano
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Cotija or Manchego cheese grated
- Wash the Chile Poblanos, roast, then peel and seed the chiles as per the instructions above!
- Place the chiles in a blender with the cilantro and garlic and puree with about a ½ cup of broth.
- Force the puree through a medium mesh sieve into a bowl and add the salt. Set aside…
- Place the 6 cups of stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Place 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Once it is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent, but not browning!
- Add the rice and stir with your Girariso to combine.
- Add the white wine and cook until the wine is completely absorbed.
- Start adding the stock about 1 cup at a time and stirring constantly until each cup of stock is completely absorbed before adding the next. After 5 cups of stock have been added, start tasting the rice.
- Just before the rice is al dente, add the Poblano puree and stir to combine.
- When the rice is al dente, remove from heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the cheese and stir vigorously. SERVE IMMEDIATELY!
Pan Seared Bay Scallops in a Chipotle and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
- 1 lb of fresh Bay Scallops (Nantucket or Cape Cod)
- Juice of ½ of a lime.
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons Chipotle and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
- 2 tablespoons clarified butter
- 1 tablespoon of cold butter
- Rinse and completely dry the scallops and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the clarified butter in a sauté pan on medium-high heat.
- Once the fat is hot add the bay scallops and DO NOT TOUCH!
- After 2 minutes turn then quickly and cook for another minute then remove pan from the heat with a slotted spoon.
- Turn burner to low and place pan back on stove, whisk in the pesto and the cold butter, then remove from heat, add the lime juice to balance!
- Toss the scallops back in the pan.
- When serving, use a slotted spoon and place the scallops on the plate, then drizzle the sauce around the plate.