I had the pleasure of doing another cooking demo at Surfas Culinary District over the weekend. This time, we created a special Valentine’s Day menu for two that is both completely delicious and gluten-free:
Appetizer: Roasted Grape & Rosemary Parmesan Crisps (coming soon to the blog!)
Salad: Megan’s Butter Lettuce Salad with Pistachios & Crispy Bacon
Main: Seared Scallops & Citrus Beet Risotto
Dessert: Megan’s Gluten Free Molten Chocolate Pots
Drink: French 75
Megan and I tag-teamed the menu, and had such a blast creating it!
Risotto is one of my go-to dishes when I want to make something special, and it works well with a variety of proteins from braised short ribs to seared salmon or shrimp. It has the unfortunate reputation of being difficult to make, but as long as you’ve got a little patience, the results are so worth it!
I chose to add beets to impart a lovely blush color to the rice (hello, Valentine’s Day!), but went WAY overboard (as in 1 whole grated beet) the first batch and ended up resembling raw meat! – not quite what I was going for. The second batch, I added less beets, and the shade went from bright red to a mellow, soft shade of pink. Much better!
I decided to pair the beet risotto with scallops because they are such a rare treat in our house, making them extra special for the holiday. They were also one of the first proteins I learned to cook on my own back in college, so they hold a special place in my heart.
You can find all the recipes from our menu on the SideChef app with step-by-step voice guidance and photos! 🙂
- 6 scallops
- 2 beets
- 1 orange
- 1 meyer lemon
- chives, for garnish
- ¾ cup finely grated pecorino romano
- 3 oz soft goat cheese
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup arborio rice
- finishing salt, such as saffron salt
- ½ cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
- 1 tbsp grapessed or canola oil (for the scallops)
- 1 tsp olive oil (for the beets)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Wash and peel the beets. Finely grate 1 of them, and slice the other thinly with a mandolin.
- Zest the lemon and orange. Juice the lemon.
- Mince the garlic cloves. Finely chop the onion. Mince the chives.
- Grate the pecorino romano.
- Rinse and pat dry the scallops. Season with salt and pepper and place in the fridge until ready to cook.
- Place a stainless steel baking rack on top of a baking sheet. Spray it with cooking spray.
- Spread the beet rounds evenly on the baking rack. Spray the beets with cooking spray and sprinkle with and a pinch of salt and place into the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, or until the chips are cooked through and crispy.
- Heat the chicken stock in a pot over low heat.
- Melt the butter in a straight-sided pot over medium heat. Stir in the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt, and cook for about 3 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Toss in the rice. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the rice is toasty.
- Immediately pour in the wine and stir constantly until the wine is almost completely evaporated.
- Pour in ¼ cup of stock at a time into the risotto, stirring often. Allow each ladle of liquid to cook into the rice before adding more liquid.
- When you have about ½ cup of stock left, stir in a scant ¼ cup of grated beets.
- Incorporate the remaining liquid. Stir in the grated cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and orange zest. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Pop a lid on the risotto and cut the heat off. Heat the grapeseed oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cook the scallops for 1-2 minutes per side. Don’t disturb them as they cook! This will ensure they develop a nice crust on each side.
- Plate the dish: spread a cup of risotto on a plate, and top with the scallops. Garnish with fresh goat cheese crumbles, chives, and beet chips.