Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Parmesan Risotto and Wilted Spinach

I blame two things on this recipe.

  • Saltwater Grill in Panama City Beach, FL and their foodporn Pan Seared Diver Sea Scallops.
  • SkinnyTaste.com for posting this recipe that is remarkably similar to the entree at Saltwater Grill. Another win from Pinterest.

This was our first attempt at this recipe. The sear is darker on these scallops than both Saltwater Grill and SkinnyTaste.com, but the texture was right. I may try to sear in something other than cast iron next time. Scallops are on a One Day Sale at the local Whole Foods next Friday. So I may get another chance to do this sooner than later. The risotto was rich and creamy. Consider this a marriage building meal. It is not easy for one person to manage the risotto and the scallops at the same time. So this dinner was a team sport.

Seared Scallops over Wilted Spinach and Parmesan Risotto

Parmesan Risotto
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 3 • Size: 3/4 cup • Time: 30 minutes • Calories: 309 • Points: 6.5 pts

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups fat free chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat chicken stock in a small pot.

In a medium size heavy sauce pan, add butter on medium-low heat. Add shallots, sauté about 1 minute.

Add rice mixing well until well coated and transluscent, about 2 minutes.

Add wine, salt and pepper and mix well until it is absorbed into the rice.

Ladle 1 cup stock into rice and mix until all stock is absorbed, add another ladle, and continue adding and stirring until all broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and parsley, mix well and serve.

Seared Scallops over Wilted Spinach
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 3 • Size: 5 oz • Time: 10 minutes • Calories: 172 • Points: 3.5 pts

  • 16 oz (about 12-14) sea scallops
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 10 oz baby spinach, washed

Wash scallops and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a medium size pan on a high flame. When pan is hot, melt 1 tsp butter and place half of the scallops in the pan.

Sear without touching them for a few minutes until the bottom forms a nice caramel colored crust. Turn over and cook about another minute or 2, until the center is slightly translucent (you can check this by viewing them from the side) and the bottom is seared. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from the pan and set aside on a warm plate. Add addition tsp butter and cook remaining scallops.

Add olive oil to the pan and sauté shallots, add spinach, salt and pepper. Toss until spinach wilts.

Serve over spinach over risotto topped with scallops.

Chicken Pignoli Pasta

As it turns out, I can also cook inside the house. This is a go-to recipe at home when we’re looking for some lighter Italian fare. The flavor profile is a little like piccata. The original recipe came from a former employer and was made with shrimp. But since the wife is not really a fan of shrimp, it got updated at home to include chicken. This recipe is quick (since most of the ingredients are ready to use) and usually leaves leftovers for lunch the next day. With this recipe, I tend to throw ingredients into the pan by handful, rather than measure.

Ingredients:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb box pasta (we tend to use whole wheat penne or rotini, but have been known to use Angel Hair or Spaghetti in a pinch)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 small jar of capers
Pine nuts
Italian seasoning
Parmesan reggiano cheese (there is no such thing as anything else)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (substitute shrimp if you prefer)
Salt
Getting setup:
1. Set a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. Go once around the pan with the Olive oil. Turn the range to medium heat
3. Rub olive oil on the chicken, sprinkle with salt, shake on Italian seasoning.
4. Cook chicken over medium heat.
5. When chicken is cooked, remove from heat and move to cutting board.
Shredding the chicken:
Take two forks, rounded ends back to back. Hold the chicken with one fork and pull with the other. This feels a little odd at first and you probably won’t feel like you’re making any progress at first. You’ll develop a feel for this. And it will make its way into other chicken recipes. I do admit I have to give Giada credit for this technique.
   
Prepare sauce:
1. Go once around the pan with more olive oil.
2. Add minced garlic, stir for 30 seconds
3. Add all the artichoke hearts (you can separate them with a wooden spatula) and about 2/3 of the capers (and all of the caper juice). Add chicken back to mixture.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer
3. For the last couple minutes, add pine nuts and stir. Add a little salt to bring out the other flavors.
Putting it all together:
1. Drain the pasta, return the pasta back to the pot.
2. Add the sauce, chicken and pine nuts to the pot.
3. Mix thoroughly.
4. Serve. Grate fresh parmesan reggiano cheese

Sometimes I’ll toss in some sun dried tomatoes or a drained can of diced tomatoes to add color. You can also use some lemon juice or zest to make it even more piccata like. This pairs especially well with a sweet Italian white wine. We like Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, because it’s one of the wines we drank while we were in Rome.

Ginger Honey Glazed Salmon

My first foodblog recipe is a seafood recipe on the Big Green Egg. I was able to locate some wild caught Pacific salmon. We served the fish with garlic green beans and brown rice pilaf.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (I used a zester to grate the ginger)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 green onion, chopped
1 pound salmon fillets (skin on, especially if you can do wild caught)
Alder or cedar plank (I use alder exclusively because I have a cedar allergy)
Olive oil (pure or extra virgin)
Prepare plank:
Submerge grilling plank for at least one hour. You’re looking to impart smoke and flavor, not set the wood on fire.
Prepare marinade and marinate salmon:
1. Mix orange juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic powder and green onion in small bowl.
2. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade. Place salmon in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add remaining marinade; turn to coat well.
3. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove salmon from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.
While your salmon is marinating, go ahead and prepare the Big Green Egg:
1. Setup the Egg for direct heat. The plank will make your heat indirect, but just won’t smoke if it isn’t exposed to the fire.
2. Start fire and preheat grill to a dome temperature of about 350 degrees.
3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the grilling plank
4. Place marinated fish, skin side down on the olive oil. Grilling on a plank won’t require you to flip the fish.
Once the grill is ready, it’s time to add the plank and fish:
1. Close the lid.
2. The temperature will drop (possibly by 50 degrees or so) and you may need to adjust your lower vent to get it to return to 350.
3. You’ll need to open the lid twice during cooking to brush on the reserved glaze. Once about halfway through and again about 3/4 of the way through.
4. Cook to desired doneness. About 15 to 20 minutes total time for Medium. 25 to 30 minutes total time for Well Done.