Seared scallops on pea and mint risotto

  • for 6 people
  • Ready in 35 minutes
  • Easy
A fresh and flavourful first course that's bound to impress.

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15g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
300g roeless scallops, thawed if frozen
Fresh baby mint leaves, to serve

for the pea and mint risotto
1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
75g butter
8 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
225g risotto rice
50ml dry white vermouth or white wine
225g freshly shelled or frozen peas
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
25g Parmesan, finely grated


1. Make the risotto. Put the chicken or vegetable stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil and keep hot over a low heat.
2. Melt 50g of the butter in a medium pan, add the spring onions and cook gently for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated in butter. Add the vermouth or white wine and simmer, stirring, until it has nearly disappeared. Add a ladleful of stock and stir over a medium heat until it is nearly all absorbed, then add another. Continue like this for 20-25 minutes or until al dente.
3. Meanwhile, cook the peas in a pan of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes, until tender. Drain well, tip into a food processor and add the remaining butter and chopped mint. Process until smooth, then set aside.
4. When the risotto has 4 minutes to go, heat a large non-stick, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat until smoking hot. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the butter, olive oil and half the scallops and sear for 1 minute, seasoning with salt and pepper as they cook. Quickly turn them over, season again and cook for another minute. Spoon them onto a plate and keep warm while you cook the remainder.
5. When the rice is tender but still a little al dente in the centre, stir in the pea purée, Parmesan and salt and pepper. Spoon onto 6 warmed serving plates and pile the scallops on top. Serve immediately, scattered with baby mint leaves.

From November 2007

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