Food adventure: Sunflower Seed Risotto with Scallops
Food adventure time! Marc is gone this weekend so I did some cooking to entertain myself. Yes. Some people watch TV, I cook.
This idea is not my own but from My New Roots, which I discovered via this Food52 article. The internet is great, right? As soon as I saw this I knew I had to try it. Super weird but with the potential to be delicious – that’s how I like my food adventures.
I’ve actually been feeling pretty meh toward cooking recently. Turns out it’s much more fun when you only do it 1-2 days a week, as opposed to every. single. day. I’ve just been feeling burned out, and it doesn’t help that my intestines seem unhappy about anything I eat lately. This is a sad situation, since I actually love cooking, so with some free time this weekend I decided to make something kind of crazy. Enter the current situation: sunflower seed risotto.
So anyway, top your risotto with veggies. I knew that wouldn’t be enough for me though, since my body doesn’t really do well with a meal of only veggies and nuts. A quick internet search for risotto came up with this recipe on Pinch of Yum for risotto and scallops. Scallops! For a long time I wouldn’t touch the things because I thought they’d be chewy (mussels, on the other hand. Actually chewy). But no, they’re super tender and wow so delicious. Pricey, but so good. And they went perfectly with what I had going already. Not overpowering, but added a great flavor and texture to the dish.
These pictures really don’t do justice to the dish – they were taken by a starving person who was much more interested in actually eating the food. If you’re a visual person like myself and want to see the true potential of this dish, please look at these and these!
And then, since I had already ruined whatever vegan/vegetarian goal the recipe had originally intended, I went ahead and sprinkled some asiago cheese on top. Because everything needs asiago cheese on top. But this meal is wonderfully flexible in that it can be vegan/veg if you want it to be!
Sunflower Seed Risotto with Scallops
- 2 ½ cups shelled raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
- 2-3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (Olive oil or vegetable oil work as well)
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- Assorted seasonal vegetables like carrots and radishes
- Handful of watercress per person stirred in before serving
- Good quality olive oil
- Lemon wedges
- Flaky sea salt
- 3-4 jumbo scallops per person
- Oil for cooking
- Salt to taste
- Soak the sunflower seeds overnight or all day in water with 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Drain and rinse the seeds. Take 1 cup of the sunflower seeds and place in a blender or food processor with 1 cup of water. Blend until creamy.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Smash the garlic cloves lightly with the flat side of a knife, remove the husk, and place in oil. Cook garlic until fragrant and opaque, about 2 minutes. Discard the garlic.
- Add the sunflower seeds (not the blended ones, just the whole oneto the pot with 2 cups of water. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until al dente. Seeds should be “tender with only the slightest crunch still left in them.” Boil off any excess liquid.
- Add the blended sunflower seeds and stir to combine. Season with salt (and any other desired seasonings). Remove from the heat, add the watercress, and stir again to combine.
- For the vegetables: cut any large vegetables into roughly 1-inch pieces. Heat a pot of water to boiling and blanch until just cooked. You want them tender enough to eat but not mushy. Do this in batches if needed.
- While the water for the vegetables is boiling, heat a pan to medium high heat. Add the oil. Pat the scallops dry and season with salt. Cook the scallops for 2-3 minutes per side, until they are golden brown on the outside and opaque on the inside.
- When everything is ready, place about a ¼ cup of risotto in a bowl. Top with veggies and scallops. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice; sprinkle some salt on top. Add cheese if you desire, and enjoy!
Original recipe says this serves 4, but I feel like it’s more like 8. Turns out sunflower seeds are very filling!
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