Rye Bay scallops will be in season till the end of the month and just a few are needed to add their sweet flavour to this luxurious risotto. Prepare ahead up until the last stages of adding the stock, then finish and serve small helpings
- Serves 6 as a starter
- Time to prepare: 5 minutes
- Time to cook: 25 minutes
- 40g butter
- 6 scallops with coral
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1 medium leek, finely sliced
- 125ml simmering chicken or fish stock
- 200g risotto rice
- 2 tbsp finely chopped flat leafed parsley
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wash the scallops and pat dry with kitchen paper. Remove the corals and cut the scallops in half. Heat half the butter in a small frying pan and cook the scallops very quickly on both sides for a minute or two. Add the brandy and flame with a taper. Let the flames die down then season and set aside.
- Melt the rest of the butter in a heavy based pan and add the sliced leek. Cook for a few minutes until soft then add the rice. Mix to coat the rice in the butter and cook for a further minute or two. Add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, and stir until each amount is absorbed by the rice. Keep adding stock and stirring for 10-15 minutes until the rice is just al dente.
- Stir the scallops with their juices, the parsley and lemon juice into the rice. Cook together until the grains are creamy and soft. Add the remaining butter and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Serve on warmed serving plates.
Local food tip: At their best at this time of year when cold English seas ensure the finest flavour, scallops are an excellent source of vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and potassium, all vital nutrients that provide significant benefits for the cardiovascular system. Rye Bay scallops come from local waters and are good enough to warrant their very own festival week which takes place in Rye the last week in February.
- recipes Mary Gwynn
- photographs David Merewether