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 my 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. Don’t be afraid to invite a partner into the kitchen for this one. It is not easy for one person to manage the risotto and the scallops at the same time, but, I promise, it can be done.

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. Tonight I’m cooking with chicken instead. 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 I drank while I was in Rome.