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January 31, 2014

BBQ MY WAY: Scallops and creamy risotto

I love scallops, especially when prepared correctly. They are one of the highest sources of protein, and very low in fat. When prepared correctly they are sweet, tender and delicious. But, if you aren’t careful you can end up with a pale hunk of rubber on your plate. We served these pan seared scallops alongside a traditional Italian risotto and a fresh green salad. Let’s cover the basics of scallops first.

If you buy scallops that are not frozen, please take a sniff if you can before handing over your money. They should have a sweet scent and the brine from the ocean. If it smells really fishy, take a pass. We tend to buy the frozen scallops. There is a big box retailer (drop me an email and I will be happy to tell you who it is) in our area who sells two pound bags of scallops that are frozen, and absolutely delicious. We place them in a zip lock bag and let cold water run over them until they are thawed. It takes some time, but it’s the best way to thaw our frozen scallops. Whether fresh or frozen, once thawed, rinse with cold water.

One last thing. By the time you read this, I should have posted videos of both recipes on our YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com/BBQMyWay. You will see them under “recent uploads.”

For the scallops, all you need are thawed out scallops, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. You will also need a couple teaspoons of olive oil, and maybe 1 tablespoon of butter, although that’s optional. You can use teflon, but I feel a seasoned cast iron skillet works best.

Heat the oil up to medium high heat. If you are using butter, add that when the oil is pretty close to cooking temperature. Dry all the scallops off with paper towel, and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place the scallops in the hot skillet and let cook untouched for a minute or so. Using tongs, look at the bottom of one of the scallops. If there is a slight browning at the edges, turn them. Do the same think with the other side. Depending on the size of your scallops you will be looking at total cooking time of three to four minutes tops. For that reason, the scallops are the last thing you want to prepare in your meal.

Risotto With Cheese

1 1⁄2 cups arborio rice (arborio is a must); 1⁄2 cup white wine; 1 qt. chicken stock; 1 yellow onion finely chopped

3 Tbs unsalted butter; 1 Tbs olive oil; 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese parsley (optional);

This is a dish of love. It takes time, at least an hour or so. In a large stock pot, bring all the chicken stock to a light boil, then turn down to low just to keep warm. In a heavy bottomed pan, add the oil and 1 Tbs of butter. Melt and add the onion. Saute' for three minutes over medium heat. Add the rice to the onions and stir over medium heat for three more minutes. Add the wine and stir till it is fully absorbed. Now, add one ladle of hot broth. Stir constantly until it is mostly absorbed into the rice. Now do it again with a second full ladle, stirring until fully absorbed. Keep doing this until all the stock is absorbed, one ladle at a time. You need to be stirring constantly. Now, add the remaining butter and the cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. At the end, add the parsley if you have some on hand. The dish should be creamy and delicious. Perfect with pan seared scallops and a nice green lettuce. Enjoy!

Dave Lobeck is an Edward Jones Financial Advisor in Jeffersonville by day and a BBQ enthusiast foodie on nights and weekends. He is also a Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. You can contact Dave with your BBQ and grilling questions at www.BBQ-My-Way.com or davelobeck@gmail.com.

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