Behind the Dish: Sea Scallops and Wild Mushroom and Green Sauce on Risotto

Hi! It’s me, the Tenant, again! It’s my duty to bring to you the story behind today’s Julia dish, Sea Scallops and Wild Mushroom and Green Sauce on Risotto.

This recipe, being one of those in Julia’s “Master Chefs” series, came to her through Southwestern cuisine expert Robert Del Grande. You can find a link to a video of him preparing this dish on this page.

Just as with yesterday’s offering, this isn’t one typically considered “French,” except by Julia’s standards. But it does sound tasty, and I’m going to taste it tonight. If the scallops are cooked anything like they are in the Bistro’s lobster ravioli dish, it should be great. (The lobster ravioli!…my baby sis and I are crazy about that. If we could find a way to hook up an IV line to deliver that buttery cream sauce directly into our veins, we would.)

What goes into this particular dish? For one thing, a base. In the PBS video, Robert Del Grande makes corn pudding as his base, but the Bistro is using a black-truffle risotto instead. I love corn pudding like I love my life, but risotto is fine with me too. The important thing, I guess, is to have a nice creamy bed for the sauce and the scallops.

The green sauce is cooked separately. It consists of tomatillos — small, green, tomato-like fruit that grows inside a husk, with a tart flavor — husked, puréed and sautéed with serrano chilies and garlic. In the Bistro’s recipe, jalapeños will fill in for the serranos. The mushrooms will be shiitakes, cooked in chicken stock, salt and a little sugar added once combined with the tomatillos, if needed to balance out their tartness.

The scallops are seared in yet another pan. Again, keeping the liquid level low and caramelizing is important, to make sure the scallops are seared, rather than boiled, in the pan.

When everything is ready, the risotto goes down first, then is topped with green sauce and mushrooms, with the seared scallops set on top. A drizzle of heavy cream, a touch of tomato salsa and a sprinkle of corn nuts will finish it off.

If that sounds good, plan on coming in tonight and taste it for yourself. Otherwise you’ll just have to settle for my description after I try it!

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