We’ve been on a kick lately of making ourselves fancy dinners at home. Cooking together used to be something Dan and I both looked forward to as singletons, but with the hustle and bustle of our work/life balance, cooking for fun sort of went by the wayside. In the new year, we’re trying to make a few fancy dinners a month. You know, the ones that may take a bit of time and effort but more than pay off in the end. This brown butter scallop and Parmesan risotto dish absolutely fit the bill, and didn’t crush our wallets in the process.
I’ll admit – I love scallops.* Yes, there’s an asterisk. I love scallops, but *only when they are cooked correctly. Cooked too long, they get rubbery and gross. It’s a fine line.
We used this recipe as our starting point because the ingredients seemed pretty basic, and we had most of them in our fridge and cupboard already. Of course, we made a few changes.
First of all, we used smaller bay scallops instead of jumbo scallops. The only reason for the swap was a price difference. Bay scallops were $10/lb while jumbo scallops came in around the $20/lb range. By choosing the smaller scallops, we saved ourselves $10.
We also didn’t have grapeseed oil, so we used good old olive oil. It worked fine.
And, if you know me, you already know we chose to wilt spinach instead of kale. No offense kale, but you’re just not my jam.
Finally, the brown butter sauce. I think it was a good addition to the simple dish, but I don’t think the whole 3 tablespoons worth of butter was needed. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a hard time putting a bunch of butter in anything – baked goods included. So browning up this much butter and pouring it on top of a dish seemed a bit much to me. I think you could get by with 1.5 tablespoons or maybe even omit the butter entirely. The oil in the wilted spinach does a lot for the dish, and the risotto is pretty rich as it is.
We talked about this dish for days after we made it, and we even contemplated making this again for a homemade Valentine’s Day dinner. We ended up trying something new, but this dish will definitely make it into our “fancy dinner” rotation.