The inspiration for this risotto came from our wonderful dinner at De Librije, where the sea scallops with veal marrow, black garlic and a smoky jus of roasted celeriac was one of our favorite dishes. This is by no means my version of the same dish, I mainly used the idea of pairing scallops with smoky celeriac. At De Librije the dish was paired with a white burgundy from Cotes-de-Nuits, and I also happened to have one bottle of a white Cotes-de-Nuits 2006 left so we drank that with it (and I also used one glass for the risotto).
For 2 servings
130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice such as arborio
200 grams (7 oz) fresh sea scallops (not frozen)
300 grams (0.67 lbs) celeriac/celery root
1 glass (100 ml) of dry white wine
1 shallot or small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped celery leaves (or flatleaf parsley)
salt and freshly ground white pepper
pinch of saffron
3 Tbsp butter
freshly squeezed lemon juice
Peel the celeriac and cut it into chunks. Smoke in a hot smoker for 45 minutes or until tender.
Make smoky celeriac puree in a blender.
Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a wide pan and sauté the onion or shallot until translucent.
Add the rice and toast for a few minutes. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a simmer.
Add the wine and let it evaporate, stirring over medium heat.
Add a ladle of hot stock.
Add the smoky celeriac puree and stir to mix.
Keep adding stock a ladle at the time as soon as the rice starts to become dry and keep stirring until the rice has absorbed all the stock and is cooked al dente, about 16-18 minutes.
About halfway, mix a pinch of saffron in a ladle of hot stock and add it to the rice.
Turn off the heat when the risotto is cooked.
Add the remaining Tbsp butter in small pieces as well as the chopped celery or parsley and a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Cut each scallop into two slices and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.
Sauté the scallops in olive oil in a very hot non-stick skillet on both sides until they are golden, about 1 minute per side, and be careful not to overcook them. Season with salt at the end of the cooking.
Serve the risotto on warm plates, topped with the scallops.
Pairs excellently with a white burgundy or another elegant oaked chardonnay with a nice bit of acidity. The wine should be a bit ‘smoky’ from the oak to go well with the smoked celeriac.