Leek and Whey Risotto served with Seared Scallops in Brown Butter
serves: serves 4-6
Risotto is a mainstay in the fall for me. I have loved it since my friend Kikki in Brooklyn made some for me with ingredients she brought back from her second home in Bormio. Every time I make it, I think about her bringing the big hunk of Parmesan out of its packaging and grating it liberally into the dish.
Years later, reminiscing on the warm buttery flavors, I learned how to make the dish myself and have made dozens of varieties with different flavor profiles. I love to make Chanterelle risotto in late summer when my parents bring Chanterelles from their camping trips in Maine. I make Butternut Squash Risotto whenever I want to see a bit of orange on my plate and long for warmth on a chilly night.
One of my favorites is leek risotto. Leeks are perfect, soft, buttery, with just enough edge to make them exciting. I am still upset that they did not take in my garden this year! I bought some leeks from my friend Anwar last week and have been waiting for a good night to make Risotto. I was making queso fresco for my Carnitas Enchiladas Verde recipe and had a plethora of whey left. I have read that it adds protein to dishes so I decided to use whey instead of water for my broth. I highly recommend using chicken broth concentrate instead of broth for your recipes because you can stack flavors. I use the concentrate and dilute it with the whey and wine in this recipe. It is an incredible trick!
I pair the risotto with some sea scallops seared in brown butter and drizzled with some lemon. The lemon and whey are balanced by the butter in the sauce and the Parmesan in the risotto.
I am most excited about how my risotto is served! I have been learning ceramics this year and I made my first collection of porcelain serve-ware with pure gold detailing! I have been dreaming about these dishes for almost 10 years, and I finally had the skill set to create them for myself! Want to see more of them? I set up an Etsy shop! Check them out 🙂 Everything is on sale for the holidays!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 2 large or 4 small leeks, thinly sliced, green tops removed
- 1 1/4 cup arborio rice
- 4 teaspoons chicken stock concentrate
- 1 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups whey (or 2 cups water and juice of 1 lemon)
- 2 cups water
- 1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound sea scallops, dried with paper towels
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
- For the risotto, heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven.
- Cook leek until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add rice and mix to coat each kernel in oil. Add chicken stock concentrate.
- Deglaze with wine.
- Turn heat down to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed.
- Add a cup of whey (or water). Stir and simmer until it is absorbed. Keep adding the whey and water, 1 cup at a time until all the water is used. The rice should be al dente at this point. If not, add about a half a cup more of water.
- Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper ot taste. You may not need any salt if your whey was salted. Make sure you are tasting before and after adding
- For the scallops, dry scallops with paper towels, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat oil in skillet. After oil is nice and hot, add the scallops. Make sure not to overcrowd them on the pan. Sauté 2-3 minutes without moving or until lightly browned. Flip and repeat.
- Set aside on a warm plate. Cover with foil.
- Return the pan to heat and add butter. Cook until the butter starts to foam and brown a bit.
- Add shallot, sauté for 1 minute.
- Add lemon juice and parsley.
- Season with salt and pepper and adjust flavors if needed.
- To serve, serve a cup or so of risotto, make a small indent for the scallops on top and serve with sauce drizzled over the scallops.