The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Taking Respite in Pescetarian Fancies and Good Wine

Posted on | July 22, 2011 | Written by Tim Hemphill | No Comments

After counting bottles of wine sold, adding up numbers, and dealing with the ins-and-outs of managing financial and operational enterprises, I find solace and indulgence in the evening’s respite.  Luckily, my better half is a foodie and I get to tag along for the ride.  She loves taking the two of us on savory excursions to wind down when we’ve both had long weeks at the office.  My contribution is always the wine, and I try to find that special bottle to do her creations justice.

Last night, we had a tasty recipe that will satisfy any pescetarian’s craving, and I have the pleasure of sharing it with you.  We try to use fresh herbs from our balcony garden and veggies from our CSA when possible.

PAN-SEARED SEA SCALLOPS AND CARROT RISOTTO (For Four)

3 Tbsp olive oil

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 cups finely diced carrots

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

5 cups vegetable broth

1/3 cup minced onion

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine (use a good cooking wine)

1/2 cup freshly shredded pecorino Romano cheese

1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

1 lb dry sea scallops (if stored in liquid, rinse and pat dry)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1.Heat 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat in a medium sized heavy-bottomed pot; add carrots and stir until the carrots are coated with the butter and oil. Add 1/2 cup water, salt, and the sugar; cover and cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until water evaporates and carrots are just starting to brown, about five minutes. Reserve half of the carrots; in a blender, purée other half with 3/4 cup of hot water.

2. Heat remaining oil and butter over medium heat in same (unwashed) pot used for carrots. Add onion and cook until translucent, about five minutes. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine evaporates. Add carrot purée and cook, stirring, until mixture absorbs most of the liquid.

3. Add about 1/2 cup of the broth, stirring often, until rice absorbs most of the liquid. Repeat process, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time and stirring often till each addition is absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente (about 20 minutes; at least 1 cup broth will remain).

4. Fold in reserved carrots, Pecorino Romano cheese, parsley, and thyme. Add up to 1 cup of broth (1/4 cup at a time) to loosen the risotto. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

5. Sprinkle sea salt on the scallops. Heat 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat in a pan until almost smoking. Place the scallops in the pan, and do not move them for two minutes. Turn to cook the other side for one minute. Serve 5 scallops on each serving’s bed of carrot risotto.

As I take the elevator down from our corporate headquarters, I usually stop on our new sales floor (which, by the way, you should definitely check out if you have not) and visit our sales operations. They are not only extremely hard working, but they help me make these most important everyday drinking decisions.

For this meal, they suggested the Hofstatter Bianco Barthenau Vigna S. Michele 2006.  When my wife and I sat down to dinner, the nose of the wine threw us off, as we sensed whiffs of honey and a mineral-saline quality.  I thought it would be much stronger on the palate, but it was actually quite mild in flavor with a light fruitiness that complimented the saltiness of the cheeses in the carrot risotto very well.  It’s a viscous full-bodied white, almost straw yellow, making it look like a Chardonnay to me.  The subtle lingering of the wine and ambrosial decadence of the scallops definitely put my weary mind at ease.  It’s good to be home.

 

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