There are some who say that a proper risotto shouldn’t have parmesan added when it’s served with fish. I disagree, as the parmesan adds a richness that compliments many fish, but especially scallops, and it gives an ‘fedge’ to the rice, almost in the same way that lemon zest does, but in a more subtle way. However, you might want to serve it in a separate dish and let your guests decide.
Brush scallops with oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature while preparing risotto.
The more lemongrass in the stock the more flavour. Finely slice and wash leek.
Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté leeks and lemongrass over medium heat until very slightly golden. Add herbs and cook 1 minute. Add rice and salt and cook another minute, stirring well. Pour on half the simmering stock, stir well then turn the pan to a simmer and stir from time to time. Once the stock has been absorbed, add another ladle full, stir well and leave until it needs more. The rice will take about 20 minutes in total to cook. Taste to check for doneness — it shouldn’t be soft but it mustn’t be hard. If it is, add some more stock and continue to cook.
When rice is nearly ready, heat a heavy or non-stick frying pan to smoking point. Add scallops and cook no more than 60 seconds on each side (small ones will need only 20–30 seconds). Scallops are best served no more than medium rare as they can become quite rubbery if overcooked. Keep warm on a covered plate.
Just before serving stir parmesan, truffle oil and spring onions into the risotto. Check seasoning, spoon onto plates and place scallops on top. Garnish with lime wedges.
© 2003 Peter Gordon. All rights reserved.