This dish highlights the buttery, briny characteristics of scallops fresh from the ocean. At The Kitchen, Chef Steve Quigg uses large shrimp (opt for less than 10 shrimp per pound, commonly labeled “U10”) and dry scallops that are caught and delivered within 36 hours. Quigg recommends spending the extra money for dry scallops if they are available.
6 quarts homemade or low-sodium vegetable stock
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
2 minced garlic cloves
1 pound arborio rice
1 bottle of dry white wine (one you would drink yourself)
1 cup sliced wild mushrooms (cremini/shiitake/whatever you have)
1 quart mushroom stock (recipe follows)
8 tablespoons butter
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
shaved parmesan to finish
dry scallops if available, placed on a kitchen towel or paper towel
Place dried mushrooms and 8 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for an hour. Drain thru a coffee filter and discard solids.
Bring vegetable stock to a simmer in a large stock pot. In a separate pot, bring the mushroom stock to simmer. Remove both stocks from heat. Sauté the shallots in ¼-cup olive oil on medium low heat in a large stock pot until the shallot are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. You don’t want the garlic to brown or it will give off a bitter flavor. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add half the bottle of wine to the rice mixture and stir. Pour yourself a glass of wine from the remainder of the bottle.
When the rice has absorbed almost all of the wine, start ladling in the vegetable stock (add enough to just cover the rice). Continue to stir, adding more stock as the rice absorbs it. While the rice is cooking, sauté the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter on low heat until soft. Set mushrooms aside.
After about 25/30 minutes, taste a piece of rice. You want it to still have just a little firmness. Add the mushroom stock and continue to stir.
While the mushroom stock is being absorbed heat a nonstick skillet on medium high, add the 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter has melted, add the scallops to the pan with the side that was on the kitchen towel facing down (dry side will brown faster).
Do not move scallops or shake pan. When you start to see a little brown on edge of scallops, pick one up and check for a good sear (3 minutes or so). When satisfied, flip scallops in pan and remove pan from heat.
Add 4 tablespoons of butter to risotto, then the parmesan and a tablespoon of salt. Stir. Taste for salt and add more if needed. If risotto is too thick, add a little stock to reach desired consistency. Plate in warm serving bowls, top with scallops, and serve with shaved parmesan.
Chef Steve Quigg
Chef/owner Steve Quigg opened The Kitchen at the Imperial in December 2014, bringing to Chestertown the award-winning cuisine he had been serving at the much smaller Kitchen at Rock Hall. A retired information technology consultant, Quigg now focuses on providing fine-dining fare in an elegant yet comfortably casual environment. The emphasis at The Kitchen is to procure the best product available and let it be the star of the experience.