SEA SCALLOPS WITH GUANCIALE RICE

SCALLOPS ARE LIKE A BREATH FROM THE SEA.  THEY ARE NOT AGGRESSIVE IN FLAVOR LIKE OYSTERS OR SHRIMP.  THEIR TEXTURE IS FIRM BUT SUPPLE.  OVER-COOK THEM AND YOU KILL THEIR SUBTLE MAGIC.  TO OVER-SEASON THEM IS TO SMOTHER THEM.  THIS RECIPE IS AN ATTEMPT TO COMPLEMENT THEIR UNIQUE TASTE AND TEXTURE WITH THE ASSERTIVE PRESENCE OF GUANCIALE, THE SMOKEY ITALIAN BACON CURED FROM PORK JOWL.  IN THIS CASE, THE GUANCIALE IS DICED AND COOKED IN A FRYING PAN, THE TINY CUBES THEN FOLDED INTO RICE PILAF AND THE SCALLOPS THEMSELVES SAUTÉED IN THEIR FAT.  THIS TECHNIQUE OF COOKING SCALLOPS RENDERS THEM DEEPLY BROWNED ON ONE SIDE BUT TENDER ON THE INSIDE.  WHEN LOU WAS A WINE BAR ON VINE, I LEARNED IT FROM HIS CHEF.   

 12 SEA SCALLOPS
  lb GUANCIALE
 1 LARGE SHALLOT
 1 cup LONG GRAIN RICE
 2 cups CHICKEN STOCK
 FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
 1 LEMON

1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 325º

PEEL AND DICE THE SHALLOT.

HEAT 2 CUPS OF CHICKEN STOCK TO A SIMMER.

MELT 1 TBSP OF BUTTER AND 1 TBSP OF OLIVE OIL IN A SMALL DUTCH OVEN OR A SAUCE POT WITH A LID. ADD THE SHALLOTS AND COOK FOR A MINUTE STIRRING WITH A WOODEN SPOON UNTIL THEY BECOME TRANSLUCENT.

STIR IN THE RICE. LIGHTLY SALT AND PEPPER. STIR FOR A MINUTE, THEN POUR IN 1 3/4 CUPS OF THE CHICKEN BROTH. BRING TO A BOIL, COVER AND PLACE IN THE OVEN.

THE RICE SHOULD BE DONE IN ABOUT 15 MINUTES. TOWARDS THE END OF THE COOKING CHECK TO SEE IF IT NEEDS A BIT MORE LIQUID. WHEN DONE, TURN OFF THE OVEN BUT LEAVE THE RICE INSIDE.

MEANWHILE, DICE THE GUANCIALE INTO 1/4 INCH CUBES.

HEAT A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL IN A FRYING PAN. ADD THE GUANCIALE AND COOK ON A LOW FLAME TILL THE CUBES ARE BARELY BROWNED.

USE A SLOTTED SPOON TO REMOVE THE GUANCIALE TO A BOWL, LEAVING THE RENDERED FAT BEHIND.

WHEN THE RICE IS DONE, FOLD THE GUANCIALE INTO THE RICE.

DRY THE SCALLOPS THOROUGHLY WITH PAPER TOWELS.

RAISE THE HEAT IN THE PAN AND WHEN THE FAT IS VERY HOT, LAY IN THE SCALLOPS.

COOK ON ONE SIDE FOR ABOUT A MINUTE. DO NOT MOVE THEM AROUND IN THE PAN.

FLIP THE SCALLOPS OVER. TURN OFF THE HEAT AND BASTE THEM FOR ANOTHER MINUTE IN THE PAN.

CHOP ABOUT A CUP OF PARSLEY AND STIR INTO THE RICE.

DISTRIBUTE THE RICE AMONG FOUR WARMED DINNER PLATES AND TOP EACH WITH THREE SCALLOPS.

GARNISH WITH LEMON WEDGES.

SERVES 4

Ingredients

 12 SEA SCALLOPS
  lb GUANCIALE
 1 LARGE SHALLOT
 1 cup LONG GRAIN RICE
 2 cups CHICKEN STOCK
 FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
 1 LEMON

Directions

1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 325º

PEEL AND DICE THE SHALLOT.

HEAT 2 CUPS OF CHICKEN STOCK TO A SIMMER.

MELT 1 TBSP OF BUTTER AND 1 TBSP OF OLIVE OIL IN A SMALL DUTCH OVEN OR A SAUCE POT WITH A LID. ADD THE SHALLOTS AND COOK FOR A MINUTE STIRRING WITH A WOODEN SPOON UNTIL THEY BECOME TRANSLUCENT.

STIR IN THE RICE. LIGHTLY SALT AND PEPPER. STIR FOR A MINUTE, THEN POUR IN 1 3/4 CUPS OF THE CHICKEN BROTH. BRING TO A BOIL, COVER AND PLACE IN THE OVEN.

THE RICE SHOULD BE DONE IN ABOUT 15 MINUTES. TOWARDS THE END OF THE COOKING CHECK TO SEE IF IT NEEDS A BIT MORE LIQUID. WHEN DONE, TURN OFF THE OVEN BUT LEAVE THE RICE INSIDE.

MEANWHILE, DICE THE GUANCIALE INTO 1/4 INCH CUBES.

HEAT A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL IN A FRYING PAN. ADD THE GUANCIALE AND COOK ON A LOW FLAME TILL THE CUBES ARE BARELY BROWNED.

USE A SLOTTED SPOON TO REMOVE THE GUANCIALE TO A BOWL, LEAVING THE RENDERED FAT BEHIND.

WHEN THE RICE IS DONE, FOLD THE GUANCIALE INTO THE RICE.

DRY THE SCALLOPS THOROUGHLY WITH PAPER TOWELS.

RAISE THE HEAT IN THE PAN AND WHEN THE FAT IS VERY HOT, LAY IN THE SCALLOPS.

COOK ON ONE SIDE FOR ABOUT A MINUTE. DO NOT MOVE THEM AROUND IN THE PAN.

FLIP THE SCALLOPS OVER. TURN OFF THE HEAT AND BASTE THEM FOR ANOTHER MINUTE IN THE PAN.

CHOP ABOUT A CUP OF PARSLEY AND STIR INTO THE RICE.

DISTRIBUTE THE RICE AMONG FOUR WARMED DINNER PLATES AND TOP EACH WITH THREE SCALLOPS.

GARNISH WITH LEMON WEDGES.

SERVES 4

SEA SCALLOPS WITH GUANCIALE RICE
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