Chanterelle & Saffron Risotto with Seared Scallops

Seared scallops on a bed of a chanterelle and saffron risotto, sautéed asparagus in a white bowl by mincoff cafe
This is one of my favorite things to cook with chanterelles and I’ve done it with both fresh chanterelles, or my duxelles that I had stored in the freezer. Just thaw it out first.

Chanterelles are a fabulous foraged food    

We have foraged many fabulous foods from our forest for sure, but the chanterelles are probably our favorite. We didn’t even know what chanterelles were before we bought our house many years ago, but thank the heavens we do now. I didn’t even like mushrooms when I was a kid. My dad, grandpa and uncle used to go hunting for the amazingly delicious morel mushroom, but I thought those were a bit scary looking and was not even going to touch one… Let alone, eat one. Many things have changed since I was a child and now I can’t get enough of almost any mushroom. 

This amazing chanterelle and saffron risotto with seared scallops is luxurious with complex flavors, but not really hard to make if you are organized.

Know Your Mushroom

We have about 75 acres of wooded land behind our house and we have eaten at least seven different kinds now. There are so many more, but if we are not 100% positive that it’s edible, we won’t take that risk. There are some very poisonous mushrooms out there that will kill you if you have even the tiniest little nibble. Do your research and be safe. Here is a very helpful video to help you identify the chanterelle.

fresh pale orange colored chanterelle mushrooms in a white porcelain dish
Gather all your ingredients (fresh mushrooms or duxelles).
two shallots sitting on a bamboo cutting board
Chop your shallots.
close up of lemon with pile of lemon zest and zesting tool sitting on bamboo cutting board
Zest your lemon and have lemon juice ready to go.
asparagus on a bamboo cutting board, on a granite countertop with partial view of a lemon
Rinse and trim your asparagus.
grated parmesan cheese in a large glass mixing bowl with micro plane sitting on top and a block of cheese with knife sitting on bamboo cutting board in the foreground.
Grate your cheese (unless you’re using pre-grated cheese) and measure it out and set aside.

Food Prep is Important too

Pepé may like to hang out in the kitchen, but he’s not quite ready to be foraging for food in the forest. There is no way he’s getting his hands in the dirt or fighting off the mosquitoes… although he should probably be more concerned with termites since he’s made of wood. You’d think since he was not hunting chanterelles he would do the food prep while I was gone, but of course he did not. Instead, he was just taking a nap as usual. 

This chanterelle risotto and seared scallops comes together quickly with a lot of action. I recommend you get your stock simmering, do all your food prep, place setting and wine pouring before you start cooking. 

Saffron threads in square white ramekin soaking in a small amount of chicken stock
Add some warm chicken stock to your saffron and set aside.
chopped shallots simmering in a nonstick pan
When shallots start to turn translucent, it time for the next step. Overcooking them will result in a bitter taste.
Shallots and arborio rice toasting in a non stick skillet
Toasting the rice with the shallots and garlic.
Arborio rice, shallots and garlic simmering in white wine
Arborio rice, shallots and garlic simmering and reducing in white wine before adding stock and mushrooms.

Note the difference between fresh chanterelles and cooking with a duxelles

Chopped fresh chanterelles in a nonstick skillet
This is what it looks like if you are cooking with fresh chanterelles. These will reduce down quite a lot. See note below for instructions for this method.
a pile of chanterelle duxelles on top of simmering rice in skillet
This is what it will look like if you’re making this with a duxelles instead of fresh chanterelles. It will all turn out the same as they are all being cooked.
chanterelle risotto with splash of saffron broth on top in a nonstick skillet.
As per instructions below, add the saffron with broth to the mix.
stovetop with risotto in one skillet, a drizzle of olive oil in two more skillets, chicken stock in a sauce pan with a large griddle between the four burners.
Once you think you’ve added the last ladle of stock (you may not need it all), fire up 2 more skillets. One for asparagus on med-high, the other for scallops on a bit higher. You want a really hot skillet for a good sear on the scallops. I prefer a non-stick skillet for this.
asparagus sautéing in a nonstick skillet
Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in each of the other 2 skillets. Place asparagus in one skillet and season with salt and pepper.
Four raw scallops in a hot nonstick skillet
Gently place the scallops, clockwise around the skillet, one at a time. Season one side with salt and pepper. (do not season until they are in the skillet or just before). Do not move them until they are ready to flip.
chanterelle and saffron risotto with a tablespoon of butter and cup of parmesan cheese on top, in a nonstick skillet.
Incorporate the remaining butter and parmesan cheese to the risotto, and stir.
Four seared scallops in a hot nonstick skillet.
Each scallop will take no more than 60-90 seconds per side. Start flipping the in the same order you put them into the skillet and season the second side. Toss the asparagus.
Seared scallops on a bed of a chanterelle and saffron risotto, sautéed asparagus in a white bowl with a nutcracker that looks like a chef
Add touch of lemon juice to the risotto. Taste it and season accordingly.
Plate it and garnish with a small amount of lemon zest and parmesan cheese.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chanterelle & Saffron Risotto with Seared Scallops

This is one of my favorite things to cook with my fabulous foraged chanterelles. It’s delicate, lemony and fragrant, and pairs nicely with the optional seared scallops and asparagus.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Duxelles or 6-8 Ounces fresh chanterelles (4 heaping cup see notes and recipe adaptations below
  • 4-5 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 3/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Small Shallot finely chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter divided 3 + 1
  • 1 1/3 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese grated, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Saffron
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove minced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Lemon Zest plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper black pepper is fine too
  • 3-4 Scallops per person patted dry
  • 6-8 Spears of Asparagus per person optional

Instructions

  • Get all of your food prepped, table set, stock simmering in a sauce pan and everything ready to go because once you start, you will be busy until you are finished. This entire meal, including the scallops and asparagus comes together in 30 minutes or less (not including prep time - which is minimal).
  • Combine the saffron with about 1 or 2 tablespoons of warm stock to a small ramekin and set aside.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan on medium heat, then add shallots and a pinch of salt. Let that cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Raise the heat to medium high and add your arborio rice. Let that toast for about 2 minutes, then stir in your garlic and let that cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and let that evaporate, but not completely.
  • Then start ladling in your chicken or vegetable stock one ladle at a time – each time, letting the rice absorb most of the liquid. After about the 3rd ladle has absorbed, add your chanterelle duxelles into the mix along with the saffron/stock mixture, white pepper, a pinch of lemon zest and another ladle of stock. Keep adding stock and letting it cook down, while stirring until it’s almost done. You want the rice to have a little bit of bite to it, like al dente pasta (not mush), so keep tasting it.
  • Once you think you’ve added the last ladle of stock (you may not need it all), fire up 2 more skillets. One for asparagus on med-high, the other for scallops on a bit higher. You want a really hot skillet for a good sear on the scallops. I prefer a non-stick skillet for this.
  • Turn risotto off.
  • Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in each of the other 2 skillets. Place asparagus in one skillet and season with salt and pepper.
  • Gently place the scallops, clockwise around the skillet, one at a time. Season one side with salt and pepper. (do not season until they are in the skillet or just before)
  • Incorporate the remaining butter and parmesan cheese to the risotto, and stir.
  • Each scallop will take no more than 60-90 seconds per side. Start flipping the in the same order you put them into the skillet and season the second side. Toss the asparagus.
  • Add a touch of lemon juice to the risotto. Taste it and season accordingly.
  • Plate it and garnish with a small amount of lemon zest and parmesan cheese.

Notes

Note: If cooking with fresh chanterelles, you’ll use about 4 heaping cups of mushrooms, 1 more shallot, 1 more garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley (or 1/2 tablespoon dry), and add the mushrooms in after the wine has reduced. The rest is the same.

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