Truffled Leek Risotto with Seared Scallops


Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a starter
    • Difficulty


Appears in

A World in My Kitchen

A World in My Kitchen

By Peter Gordon

Published 2003

  • About

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.


  • 8 large or 24–32 small scallops, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lemongrass stems or 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • about 1500 ml(2 ½ pints) simmering vegetable stock
  • 1 medium leek or white onion
  • 100 ml(3 ½ fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons mixed fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary), chopped
  • 500 g(1 lb) risotto rice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 100 g(3 ½ oz) finely grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons truffle-infused oil
  • 3–4 spring onions, finely sliced and rinsed
  • 2 limes for garnish


    Brush scallops with oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature while preparing risotto.

    Meanwhile, cut 2 cm(¾ in) from the base of the lemongrass, remove the outer 2 layers of stem and add both to the stock, then finely slice the lower 6–8 cm(2 ½–3 in) until it becomes too woody, place any remaining bits in the stock.

    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.