Sunday, December 19, 2010

Michael Symon's Risotto with Bay Scallops and Spinach Salad with Fried Egg, Bacon, and Morels

Risotto is one of those dishes that reminds me of my love for cooking.  A labor of love, it cannot be left alone to tend to itself.  You have to pour your heart into it, stirring and stirring all the while.  You don't answer the door.  You don't answer the phone.  You stir, you daydream, you get lost in the recipe.  It's just you, your pot and that wooden spoon.  Tune the world out.....

That isn't the only reason risotto is one of my go-to meals. Risotto is also a cook's dream.  It can be a grand meal with fresh seafood and glorious cuts of meat or it can be a clean-out-the fridge kind of meal.  Either way, if you have a box of Arborio or Nano Rice, then you most likely have the makings for an impressive meal.  A little aromatics, some stock, leftover bits of cheese, veggies, meats...... you're good to go!

Michael Symon's risotto was the first time I've added prosciutto to risotto and I loved it.  Creamy and delicious with chunks of tender scallops and prosciutto...a beautiful meal.

Risotto with Bay Scallops
Adapted from Michael Symon's Live To Cook
Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced prosciutto
1 cup Arborio rice
1 generous pinch saffron (didn't have any on hand, so I left it out)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups chicken stock, warmed
1/2 pound bay scallops, or 1/2 pound sea scallops cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup sliced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and sweat it for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and sweat it for 2 minutes  more.  Add the prosciutto and cook it until it crisps, about 1 minute.  Add the rice and let it toast slightly in the hot fat, about 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon.

Reduce the heat to low, add the saffron and wine, and stir continuously until most of the wine has cooked off.  Add 1 cup of the stock and stir continuously until the liquid has cooked off, about 3 minutes.  Add another cup of stock and repeat the process.  Taste the rice.  Continue to add stock in 1/4-cup increments until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy.

Add the scallops and continue to stir for 2 minutes, or until the scallops are heated through.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley, butter, and cheese and serve immediately.
Spinach Salad with Fried Egg, Bacon, and Mushrooms
Adapted from Michael Symon's Live To Cook
Serves 4
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
8 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1-inch by 1/4 inch pieces
1 shallot, thinly sliced
6 ounces morel mushrooms, halved if large (I used baby bellas)
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
4 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves (about 8 cups loosely packed), stemmed

Heat a saute pan glazed with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the bacon pieces and saute them until they develop a crispy exterior but remain tender on the inside, adjusting the heat as necessary, 5-10 minutes.  Add the shallot and saute until it is translucent, another minute or two.  Add the mushrooms, and once they begin to soften, after about 2 minutes, add the stock, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as the liquid comes to a boil.  Reduce the pan liquid by half.  Add the balsamic vinegar, bring to a simmer, and then remove the pan from the heat.  Taste the pan sauce looking for a proper balance of fat and acidity.  If the sauce taste too fatty, add another dash of balsamic.  If it's too acidic, correct it with additional extra-virgin olive oil.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat.  Glaze the pan with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and crack in the eggs, taking care not to break the yolks.  Season each egg with a pinch of salt and some black pepper.  Fry the eggs gently until the whites are cooked through but the yolks remain runny.

Place the spinach in a large bowl.  Pour the warm dressing, with the bacon and morels (mushrooms), over the spinach and toss until the leaves are wilted and coated.

Divide the spinach salad among four plates and top each with a fried egg.
Trying to play catch up with the Symon Sundays group, I made his Sweet Corn and Wild Mushroom Soup.   The star of this soup is the corn cob stock, so fragrant and wonderful.  I had never made corn cob stock up until this point and I  must tell you that it is fabulous.  I'll be saving all my corn cobs from now on.  You can find the recipe for the corn cob stock, as well as the Sweet Corn and Wild Mushroom Soup here on Joanne's site, Eats Well With Others.
With some leftover rotisserie chicken, I made Symon's Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary.  Quite possibly the easiest Symon recipe yet, it was absolutely creamy, indulgent, and incredible.  I highly recommend this one.  The recipe can be found at Natashya's site, Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, by clicking here.


  1. Risotto and scallops go so well together! I like the addition of prosciutto, it must add a nice subtle smokiness to the dish.

  2. I really enjoy making risotto because of everything you mentioned in your first paragraph. I like the way you explain how versatile it is--fancy-pants dish or hodge-podge of leftovers. As much as I like risotto, though, I never seem to experiment. It's either mushroom or lemon risotto with me. I should get out more! Especially when there's prosciutto involved.

    The mac and cheese looks great too...and I have some extra goat cheese in the fridge!

  3. Risotto is certainly a labor of love, but simultaneously one of my favorite meals to make! I love the way yours turned out. That mac and cheese was one of my favorites as well, as was the soup! Glad you took the time to make them!

  4. oh my goodness, there is so much good stuff in this post i don't know where to start! LOVE the risotto, it really is a cook's dream, and gives the best results. i love what you put in it! the salad, soup and pasta also look wonderful. i really need to try putting an egg on my salad like that, it sounds so yummy!

  5. Yay - totally Simon-ific! Great meals, glad you loved them too. xo

  6. Wow, the risotto sounds fabulous and so decadent with the scallops. Looks like you have been cooking away lately!

  7. I've made risotto twice and I wasn't impressed either time. I've never had risotto that impressed me. I just keep waiting for that "aha moment" but it just doesn't do it for me yet. It just doesn't seem much more than soupy rice.

    I want to taste it from a master so I know if I've just had bad risotto every time because I've lost the will to try making it again.

    Maybe it's just my Achilles heel.

  8. Okay, so now I HAVE to buy Symon's book! I do love my risotto and anything with prosciutto in it has my name on it. But that wasn't what convinced me I needed this book. That macaroni at the end of your post. OMG! I want some of that. You are a cooking machine.

  9. That salad looks fantastic! We love a good hearty salad around here!

  10. I am really loving the salad! I am craving fresh food - and this is exactly what I need to satisfy it! Really, all of this looks exceptionally good. I hope I get his book for Christmas!

  11. The risotto looks yummy-I've never made it but you make it sound like something I've been missing in my like!! ;) The mac n cheese looks delish!

  12. What amazing looking dishes, love the mac n cheese, and that soup ;)...delicious flavors in all of this!

  13. I agree with the delights of risotto.And with scallops - oh how wonderfully briney rich and then the prosciutto. Symon just packed this with goodies.


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