Seared Scallops with Ginger-Lime Beurre Blanc and Milanese Risotto

I LOVE scallops.  They belong to that group of food that I covet when I’m in a restaurant.  It’s almost unavoidable that I order them if they are on the menu.  But, I’ve never made them myself.  How hard can it be?  Hot pan, some oil, happy shellfish, seared food perfection.

After my first attempt at risotto didn’t go as planned, I was on a mission to get it right.  I busted out my Italian cookbook and found a recipe with my name all over it – Milanese Risotto.  The big hold up was going to be the saffron.  It’s so expensive!  My step-dad called me a few weeks ago to tell me he bought a giant bag of saffron for $5.  

Seared Scallops & Milanese Risotto 1 
FIVE DOLLARS!!  Are you kidding me?  

He insisted I take it.  Done and done.  So here we are.  An amazingly decadent, but easy to pull off dinner.  This recipe takes a little time and love.  The pay off?  Lots of smiles, tasting buds jumping for joy, and everyone looking at you like you belong in the kitchen of a 5 star restaurant.

Seared Scallops & Milanese Risotto 2

Seared Scallops with Ginger-Lime Beurre Blanc and Milanese Risotto

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2
Author Scallops from Epicurious ][ Risotto from Italian Cookbook



  • 1 pound large sea scallops tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Beurre Blanc:

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoons fresh ginger peeled and finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine + 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoon pieces (store in fridge to keep cold while cooking)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves crushed (or 3/4 teaspoon store bought crushed garlic)
  • 4 ounces butter divided
  • 12 ounces arborio rice no substitutions
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth brought to a simmer
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Risotto
  2. Put the saffron in a small bowl. Cover with 3 tablespoons boiling water and let soak while you are cooking the risotto.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in 2 ounces of butter until soft, but not colored. Add the rice and continue to cook for a few minutes until all the rice grains are coated in butter and beginning to color slightly.
  4. Add the wine to the rice and simmer gently, stirring from time to time, until the wine has been absorbed.
  5. Add the simmering broth, 3/4 of a cup at a time. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed before adding more broth, stirring frequently. {Take your time, this is the love part of the recipe}
  6. When all the stock has been absorbed, the rice should be tender, but not soft and soggy. Add the saffron liquid (drain from the threads), Parmesan cheese, 2 ounces butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes until pipping hot and thoroughly mixed.
  7. Cover the pan tightly and let stand for 5 minutes off the heat. Give a good stir and serve immediately. Top with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.
  8. Beurre Blanc
  9. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer shallot and ginger in lime juice and 1/1 cup wine until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons.
  10. Whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding each new piece before previous one has completely melted and occasionally lifting pan from heat to cool mixture. (Sauce must not get too hot or the sauce will separate.)
  11. Pour sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl (discard solids), then return to cleaned pan. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm while cooking scallops.
  12. Scallops
  13. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  14. Heat oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until oil is hot, but not smoking. Add scallops to pan and saute, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes total.
  15. Deglaze pan with remaining 2 tablespoons wine and add the beurre blanc.
  16. Top scallops with beurre blanc and serve along side warm risotto.
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*Cooking notes: My beurre blanc broke when I added it to the skillet.  The flavor was still good, but the pan was too hot.  You can deglaze the pan and then whisk the deglazing wine into the sauce for better results. 
*Timing recommendation: I started my risotto, and after the first broth addition I started my beurre blanc.  By the time the beurre blanc was done, I was still adding liquid to the risotto and had time to start the scallops.  Everything finished together.  
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