Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This is Top Chef; It's Not Top Scallop!

~Fabio on Jamie's repeated use of Scallops in challenges

The title is one of my all time favorite Top Chef lines. I think anyone who watched Season 5 can appreciate that one. Contrary to popular opinion, I actually liked Jamie. I was initially routing for her! But how many times can one cook scallops? Only Fabio could call her out in the best / funniest way possible. Love Fabio. Then again, who didn't love that guy?

Hold the phone. Didn't I cook scallops last week? Do I really have any room to talk trash? I pondered this and then realized, I'm not in a Top Chef competition. Anything goes.
In Jamie's, Fabio's and the Season 7 premiere's honor I just had to make a Top Scallop dish. I chose one from Season 3, Joey's Scallops with Jasmine Rice Risotto. This recipe called to me as I paged through my beloved cookbook. 

Here is what you'll need:
-1 cup Jasmine Rice
-2 cups coconut milk
I got a serious kick out of the rice pouch. Goya Oh Boy-a! (It's the little things.)

-8 shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

-1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced

-1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh mint
-1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
-8 sea scallops
-cayenne pepper
-1 tsp olive oil for frying
(Joey's calls for peanut oil. I didn't have that.)

Here's what you do:
1. In a medium dry saucepan over medium heat, lightly toast the rice. Add the coconut milk, stir, and cover. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook the rice until creamy, about 15 minutes.
This is the rice and coconut milk in the very beginning stages. I ended up adding about 1/2 cup of water to the mix around minute seven. At that point all the milk was absorbed and my rice wasn't yet at the texture it needed to be. I feared it would stick to the pan.

2. Season the scallops with salt and cayenne pepper. In a large pan over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the scallops and sear for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.
3. Remove the rice from heat, then stir in the mushrooms, mango, the 1 tablespoon mint, and the 1 tablespoon basil.
That's literally all it takes. So easy!
Sweet and juicy bursts of mangoes within the thick creamy coconut rice kernels created a winning combination. It was refreshingly tropical at times but the earthy mushrooms, the seared scallops and the subtle hints of mint and basil brought the dish together really nicely.
The mangoes were definitely my favorite ingredient. To me they really made the dish shine.

In case you missed the memo, Top Chef Season 7 Washington DC premieres tonight @ 9pm on Bravo.


  1. I cannot wait for Top Chef tonight! The Food Network version cannot hold a candle to Padma and her team.

    I love scallops and yours look delicious.

  2. I love Fabio. I want him so bad. That was one of my favorite seasons of Top Chef. I dvr'd last night's episode. I can't wait to get out of work so I can watch it!
    I need to get my hands on that cookbook!

  3. I LOVE the title of this post! I loved Fabio as well :-) but I was not a Jamie fan.

  4. Seriously still waiting for my dinner invite...

  5. hahahahaha love fabio! nice work there girl, the dish looks super savory! i bet the coconut milk does things to the rice one can only dream about! well until you make this dish. ha.

  6. That looks so good! Fabio has been one of my fave contestants...did you watch the DC premiere? I missed it but can't wait to watch!

  7. This is an excellent meal! I love the addition of mango!

  8. I have the same cookbook! I'm a BIG fan of Top Chef and I'm pretty sad I have to wait until autumn to see the new season of Top Chef even though it airs in US now, boo Finland! :D