Cajun Sea Scallops over New Orleans Style Risotto

Years ago, Hubby and I loved to dine out at a place called the Voodoo Steakhouse at the Rio in Las Vegas. While off the strip, the Voodoo Steakhouse is located on the 50th floor; with a spectacular view of the city lights. It’s an upscale steakhouse with a New Orleans twist. One of Hubby’s favorite dishes was Diablo Shrimp (and as with all things in the ever-evolving restaurant world, it’s an entrée that is no longer offered). It was a sizzling hot shrimp dish served over a bed of rice. While this recipe is made with Scallops (another of Hubby’s favorite foods) served over Risotto, it reminds us of that spicy-hot Diablo Shrimp dish he loved so much. It’s Cajun meets Italian all on the same plate.

Cajun Sea Scallops over New Orleans Style Risotto
For Scallops:
2 lbs Sea Scallops
3 Teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
3 Teaspoons olive Oil
Dash of freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter with 2 teaspoons olive oil for searing the scallops

For New Orleans Risotto:
5 cups chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
2 fresh Jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 Shallots, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning

For Scallops:

Rinse scallops and pat dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, combine seasonings with olive oil. Stir to create a thick mixture. Add scallops, toss by hand until all the scallops are well coated. Pour scallops into a resealable plastic bag. Spread out inside bag, seal and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter with 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet. Cook scallops over high heat until done, 2-3 minutes per side. Scallops should be firm to the touch and nicely browned.

For Risotto:

Heat and hold the broth warm in a saucepan.

Heat oil in a separate pot, add Jalapeno peppers and shallots, cook 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, saute for about 30 seconds. Add Arborio Rice, cook until almost translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add white wine and let evaporate. Add broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each additional 1/2 cup is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Continue to add until all of the broth has been used, or until the risotto is cooked to desired doneness, about 25-30 minutes. Turn off heat, add butter, and seasonings. Stir to combine.

Transfer to large platter and top with scallops. If desired, drizzle with pan drippings from the scallops for an extra kick. Serve immediately.

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