Posts Tagged ‘impressive’

When I was growing up, I often tried to help my Dad by carrying the tools or shining a  flashlight whenever he was making repairs to the house or the family car. Something inevitably would go wrong and he always cursed his lack of the proper tools. Even today, we still joke about never having the right tool for the job.

I only bring this up because risotto intimidates many people, but it would be made incredibly simple by having the right tool for the job. In my Boston Baked Beans post, I mention the versatility of the pressure cooker and how it can make you life easier and introduce you to a whole new realm of cuisine. Here is yet another delightful application that can be made from start to finish in less than 20 minutes.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 lb scallops (U-12 preferred)
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 2 c Arborio rice
  • 1 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c White wine
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 tbsp butter
1. Take the scallops out of the refrigerator and set on the counter. Mince the onion and add to a pressure cooker with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Sweat the onion for 3 minutes ensuring you do not caramelize the onion. Turn the heat up to high and add the rice to the onion and continue until the rice begins to toast.
     

2. Very carefully, add the white wine to the rice. Wait for the steam to subside and then add the chicken stock and lemon zest to the pot. Stir to combine.
     
Note: If you prefer a more deliberate lemon flavor in you risotto, add 1/4 c lemon juice and reduce the wine to 1/4 c.

3. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and bring up to the highest steam level possible. When the button has popped, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and set a timer for 7 minutes.

4. As the rice is cooking, put two sauté pans over high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter to each pan. When the fat is nearly smoking, add the scallops to the pans ensuring that the pan is not crowded and the scallops do not touch. DO NOT TOUCH the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the pan.

          


5. When the timer sounds, release the steam from the pressure cooker. Take the lid off and add the parmesan cheese and remaining butter. Stir and allow to melt.
     
6. Serve the scallops on top of a heaping pile of risotto. Garnish with lemon slices or quarters.

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This appetizer was inspired from a trip to Fish Market, one of my favorite sushi restaurants in Boston. The restaurant had just opened, and being one of its new patrons, I was rewarded with a complimentary appetizer. What was served to me was a ball made out of avocado with a salad of raw tuna inside. It was delicious.

Here I’ve taken the same idea and made an American summer BBQ version using the avocado ball to deliver a mango salad served alongside large grilled shrimp. By and large, grilling  is my favorite method of cooking shrimp as it leaves the skin crispy directly contrasting the delicate flesh inside. This is an appetizer that can be made a few hours in advance and serves as an impressive beginning to a midsummer night dinner party.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 4 tiger shrimp (Size 8 – 12)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 mango, diced
1. Preheat the grill over medium high heat. Slice the avocado in half and scoop out the flesh onto a cutting board.
     
2. Using a very sharp knife, slice one half of the avocado as thin as possible. Use slow, deliberate strokes. There’s no rush.
3. Lay the avocado slices in a line over plastic wrap. Top the middle with 2 tbsp of the diced mango. Season with a little salt and olive oil.
     
4. Fold the plastic wrap over onto itself, folding the avocado in half. Then fold the plastic wrap back over the avocado as shown in the Step 5 picture.      
5. Twist one end of the plastic wrap so that it begins to smoosh the ends of the avocado together. Then repeat with the other side. If any mango begins to seep out, gently push it back it in, but be careful not to destroy the overlapping slices. Place the mango ball in the fridge to come together ensuring the twisted ends do not unravel.
 
6. Remove the shells from the shrimp except for the tails. Season with salt and pepper (I used some chili powder as well for additional heat).
     
7. Cook the shrimp on the grill until the tail has turned pink. Turn the shrimp over and finish cooking.
     
9. Assemble the plate by placing the avocado ball in the middle. Top with a slice of lemon and lean two shrimp on either side.