Seared Scallops with Risotto Cakes

The Food: Risotto and Scallops

When I looked at the grocery list the other day and saw “risotto cakes” I was utterly confused. My dad later told me that my mom had been raving about a dish she recently had at McCormick and Schmick’s in Kansas City and that we were attempting to recreate it for her birthday dinner.

I found this recipe online and while I didn’t follow it, it was nice to have some sort of guide.

Ingredients: (Serves 3)

1 box sun-dried tomato risotto mix

1/2 C onion finely chopped (optional)

4 C chicken stock

1 T olive oil

1 T butter

grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

6 scallops

1 box baby spinach

Handful of grape tomatoes diced

1 large garlic clove

6 T pesto


(For Risotto taken from mix box)

In a sauce pan heat chicken stock, keeping on a low simmer.

In a separate medium-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until melted. Add onion and sauté until translucent (5-7 min.). Add the rice and stir to coat all grains (2-3 min.). Do not allow the rice to brown.

Add seasoning packet and 2 C of the warmed stock. Stir occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed (about 10 min.). Keep adding chicken stock 1/2 C at a time, stirring occasionally until absorbed. Repeat until all chicken stock has been added and absorbed (20-25 min.) Add grated parmesan and mix. Take off heat and let sit.

Heat up cast iron skillet (or heavy saucepan). While that’s heating up, in a small saucepan sauté spinach and tomatoes in olive oil and garlic until the spinach is dark green and wilted. Remove from heat. Form risotto into 3 hearty sized patties and plate. Place sauteed spinach and tomatoes on top of patties. Set aside (keep warm).

Once the skillet is extremely hot (this is crucial), drizzle olive oil in and place scallops inside. Searing should go quickly, be sure to cook both sides of scallops. Cook until moderately firm and they are lightly browned on both sides. Doneness can be determined by the color and texture of the scallops.

When they are done, place 2 scallops on each of the patties. Garnish each plate with 2 T pesto as desired.

The Fare: Risotto Cakes with Seared Scallops



This was a FABULOUS meal. I would definitely make it again and it would be great for company.

Until this meal, I must admit, I’d never eaten a scallop but was pleasantly surprised by how delicious they were. I was expecting a fishy taste and texture, but there was no fishy flavor at all and the texture was perfectly tender.

The risotto cakes were fairly substantial, my dad and I didn’t have a problem with them but my mom thought they should have been a little smaller.

I thought the pesto was the perfect complementary flavor for this dish, however, it certainly wouldn’t be necessary to accompany this.