Braised Daikon Scallops in White Wine & Garlic over Saffron Risotto


How pretty does that look? Who needs animals or seafood to make beautiful, delicious meals? I love being vegan and coming up with fun recipes like this. I saw a chef at Whole Foods out west making daikon scallops and I thought it was brilliant. I had to come home and figure out a way to make them.

One thing that really bothers me is when people say, “are those scallops like the “real” thing?” First of all, I am not trying to replicate the real thing because (a) I don’t want to eat something that smells and tastes like the ocean and (b) who says that seafood is the real thing?  Why aren’t slices of daikon radish braised in white wine, shallots and garlic and then seared the real thing?

A few years ago I made Alicia Silverstone’s recipe for braised daikon so I knew I had to braise the daikon to get the right texture. I love saffron risotto so I thought it would be a perfect pairing.

Note: this is a bit of a fussy meal in that both parts of the dish are on the stovetop at the same time. But have patience. The whole thing takes about 35 to 40 minutes.

Serves 2

Daikon Scallops
1 daikon radish
Filtered water, enough to cover the daikon
1/2 cup white wine
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
Salt, a pinch
2 teaspoons olive oil
The juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

Peel and slice the daikon into 1″ rounds, or thereabout. I got 10.

Slice the shallot and press the garlic.

Place the daikon scallops into a pan with sides and cover with water. Add the white wine, shallots, garlic and a pinch of salt.

Bring to a boil. Reduce just slightly and cook until the liquid reduces all the way down.

Add the oil to the hot pan and swish it around to make sure the scallops have an opportunity to sear.

The shallots and garlic will start to fry up too. Be careful they don’t burn. Remove them with tongs if they are getting done before the scallops.

When the first side of the scallops are blackened, they are done!

Saffron Risotto
1 cup Arborio rice
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup white wine
3 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil

Chives, for garnish
Mâche, for garnish (optional!)

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, preferably with a spout, and drop in the saffron threads. Once boiling turn the heat off and set aside.

In a pan with sides, heat the olive oil on medium heat. After about 30 seconds, add the rice and toast it. When it is translucent, add the white wine. Once the wine has been absorbed, add a big ladle of hot saffron water and stir until absorbed.  Then add another ladle of saffron water until it is absorbed.  Stir often but start making the rest of the dinner.  Keep adding water as each ladle full is absorbed until there is no more water left. The risotto should be al dente!

Thinly slice and handful of chives and stir to combine. Save some chives for the plated dish.

To serve, place risotto on the bottom of two shallow bowls or plates. Top with shallots. Then place the scallops right on top. Garnish with freshly squeezed lemon juice, chives and mâche if you happen to have some on hand. Enjoy!

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