Seared Scallops with Barley Risotto and Beets

This is an involved dish that uses beets in three different ways. The beautifully colored water that the beets were cooked in is used in the vegetable stock to make the barley risotto, a perfect pairing to the rich scallops and garlic cream.
By Faith Gorsky

Seared Scallops with Barley Risotto and Beets recipe
Seared Scallops with Barley Risotto and Beets
Seared Scallops with Barley Risotto and Beets
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Beets & Greens
  • 1 bunch beets (about 4 medium beets), with roots and greens (you can use red or yellow beets, or a mix of both)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cracked but left whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ teaspoon Arabic 9 Spice Mix*
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-large shallot, thinly sliced
  • Beet greens from 1 bunch beets, rinsed and chopped (about 8 oz of greens, or 3 cups chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and pepper
Risotto
  • 6 cups beet liquid, warmed (see above)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium-large shallots, minced (about ½ cup diced)
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice mixed with 2½ tablespoons water
Garlic Cream Sauce
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and cracked but left whole
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch Arabic 9 Spice Mix
Scallops
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 lb sea scallops (size 10/20, meaning there between 10-20 scallops per pound), rinsed and patted dry
  • Pinch Arabic 9 Spice Mix
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
Beets & Greens
  1. Trim the greens off the beetroots, reserving them for use later in this dish; scrub the beetroots to remove as much dirt as possible.
  2. Put the beetroots, water, onion, garlic, bay leaf, ¾ teaspoon salt, Arabic 9 Spice Mix, and ¼ teaspoon pepper into a medium saucepan; cover the pot, bring to a boil, then turn heat down and boil until the beets are tender (a paring knife inserted inside should slide right out), about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the beets and let them sit until they’re cool enough to handle, and then rub the skin a little to remove it; cut the beets into ¼-inch thick slices.
  4. Strain the water that the beets cooked in through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Measure the beet liquid and add enough water or vegetable stock so that you have 6 cups (you’ll use the liquid to make the barley risotto).
  5. Right before serving, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beet slices and sprinkle them with salt and pepper; cook until lightly seared, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  6. In a medium skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat; add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add the beat greens, lemon juice, water, and a pinch of salt and pepper;
  8. cook until greens are wilted and the liquid is evaporated, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Risotto
  1. Keep the beet liquid gently simmering in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a separate medium saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the shallot and cook until soft but not brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the barley and cook until slightly browned and nutty smelling, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice/water mixture and cook a few seconds until evaporated.
  5. Turn heat down to medium-low. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and ½ cup hot beet liquid to the barley, stirring constantly until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, then adding more liquid in the same manner.
  6. Continue this way until the barley is tender with just a slight bite to it, about 35 minutes. (You may need slightly more or less liquid to achieve this; if you run out of beet liquid, you can just simmer some water or vegetable stock.)
  7. Turn off heat and add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Garlic Cream Sauce
  1. Add everything to a small saucepan; warm over low heat until steaming and bubbles form around the outside.
  2. Let it steep until you’re ready to serve, but right before serving remove the garlic clove.
Scallops
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; as the pan heats, season the scallops on both sides with a pinch of Arabic 9 Spice Mix, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the scallops to the pan and sear on both sides, about 2 to 4 minutes per side, flipping once.
 

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