Another rainy day at the RGB. Strawberries are beginning to appear. Also, cilantro blossoms are making their debut because we forgot to clip the leaves.
Poll: How many of you eat better at home than you do at a restaurant?
Around here, and with rare exception, Friday night is always date nite. Recently, we had tickets to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, so we had dinner at the nearby Scott’s Seafood in Costa Mesa.
While the dinner we split (Chilean sea bass) was fairly good, we both agreed we could do this at home, and for a lot cheaper. After all, after you throw in the beef carpaccio and beet salad we had to start, and the bottle of wine we ordered to split, dinner was somewhere in the three-digit range.
As you can tell by today’s RGBistro garden photos, the day was a little dreary. So mid-morning, I went on a kitchen-quest for ingredients to make a nice bowl of soup. Unfortunately, as it was 9 AM, and I only had 6 cubes (3 cups) of stock left in the freezer, I needed a Plan B. Luckily, I knew the Irvine Farmers’ Market was rockin’ and rollin’ through 1 PM, so I took a quick shower, pulled $20 out of Mr. RGBistro’s wallet and went off to find lunch.
Note: I know it’s bad (it’s overfished), but I’m a sucker for Chilean sea bass. It’s my all-time favorite fish. And I found some. From the nice lady who traveled all the way from the Smart Fish Co. in Los Angeles (about 35 miles away). I also found some wild scallops. And some asparagus. And I knew we still had Meyer lemons on the tree. An idea started to take place…
So I made one more market run (to pick up shiitake mushrooms) on the way home. I dropped the market bags on the counter at 11:45 AM, and had lunch on the table at 12:45 PM.
At $9.76 per serving, it’s much cheaper than what we’d get at Scott’s Seafood, and in Mr. RGBistro’s opinion, it tastes just as good. Enjoy!
We certainly eat just as good, if not better, at home than at a restaurant. How about you?
Pan-seared Chilean sea bass with fresh roasted asparagus, and paired with wild scallops and a shiitake mushroom risotto.
- ~ Ingredients for Sea Bass and Wild Scallops ~
- • 6 ounces Chilean sea bass
- • 6 ounces wild scallops
- • 1 tablespoon olive oil
- • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- • Juice from one Meyer lemon
- • 1 tablespoon flour
- • ¼ cup heavy cream
- • Optional: ¼ cup dry white wine
- ~ Ingredients for Asparagus ~
- • Small bunch asparagus (yield 6 oz. after trimming)
- • Grind of salt and pepper
- • 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ~ Ingredients for Risotto (serves 4, save leftovers) ~
- • 1 tablespoon olive oil and/or butter
- • 1 small sweet onion
- • ¾ cup Arborio rice
- • 3 cups chicken stock
- • Optional: ¼ cup dry white wine
- • 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- • 1 tablespoon butter
- • Zest from one Meyer lemon
- Minute 1: Preheat oven to 425 ?F. In a small saucier, bring 3 cups of chicken stock to a simmer. Bring second pot of water (5” inches full) to boil (to blanch asparagus).
- Minute 5: While oven is heating, stock is simmering and water is boiling, do some prep work: Lay sheet pan out with aluminum foil. Rinse sea bass and wild scallops and pat dry with a paper towel. Make sure you get all the water out. Zest the Meyer lemon, then squeeze the juice into a bowl. Dice onion. Slice mushrooms. Rinse asparagus, then bend until it breaks near the bottom end, discard the bottom end. In the sink, set out metal bowl with cold water and ice. Optional: shave off asparagus sides with a potato peeler. Optional: Open a bottle of dry white wine.
- Minute 15: Prepare risotto: In a third pot, sauté sweet onion in 1 tbsp. olive oil and/or butter over medium heat until the onion is translucent; about 10 minutes. Add in Arborio rice, lemon zest and white wine, cook for one more minute. Ladle in chicken broth from simmering pot (about ½ cup) and stir once. Keep an eye on the rice; once all the liquid is mostly absorbed, add another ladle (every few minutes), until rice is tender and cooked (about 20-25 minutes).
- Minute 20: Meanwhile, in small skillet, sauté shiitake mushrooms in one 1 tbsp. butter until cooked, about 10 minutes, then stir into rice. Set aside the small skillet used to sauté mushrooms; you’ll use that to prepare the lemon-cream sauce that goes over the fish.
- Minute 25: Prepare asparagus: While rice is cooking, blanch the asparagus in boiling water for one minute, then transfer to ice-bath to cool. Then drain, toss with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil and set in single layer on one-half of sheet pan.
- Minute 30: Prepare sea bass and scallops: Heat large skillet. Add in 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil and let it get really hot. (Turn off your smoke alarm.) Wet your fingers. If you flick a little water onto the oil, it should make an angry sizzle. Once the oil is hot, gently place the sea bass and wild scallops onto the pan, leaving space in between each piece. Don’t touch it again until it’s nicely seared. Grind generously with salt and pepper. Then flip it over, place it back on a different part of the skillet (that wasn’t previously used) to sear the second side. Once the second side is seared, transfer to empty half of the sheet pan.
- Minute 35: Transfer to oven with asparagus to finish in the oven for 5-8 minutes.
- Minute 40: By now, the risotto should be done. Put a lid on it to keep it warm.
- Minute 45: While sea bass, scallops and asparagus are finishing in the oven, make a pan sauce.
- Minute 45: Prepare pan sauce: Using skillet that was used for sautéing mushrooms, make a roux by melting 1 tbsp. of butter with 1 tbsp. of flour. Stir it with a small whisk. Then add in white wine and lemon juice. Stir briskly for a few minutes, then remove from heat and stir in cream. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Minute 55: Plate risotto, asparagus, sea bass and scallops. Then drizzle about 1 tbsp. of the lemon pan sauce over the sea bass and scallops. Serve immediately.
- It’s hard to make risotto for just two servings, so the risotto makes four servings. Save leftovers for another meal, like pork chops and green beans. :)
- I added a pinch of chopped parsley and thyme to the risotto; they were leftovers on the counter from the night before.
- My risotto has “green stuff” in the photo. That’s shaved asparagus stalk, blanched at the same time as the asparagus in the recipe, then dried on a paper towel.
Cost per serving: $ 9.76 - $ 10.76
Source: Rustic Garden Bistro
Bistro Eats is a collection of recipes we think could work in a bistro setting, i.e. the brick and mortar Rustic Garden Bistro. Click on this category to see a snippet of what the menu may look like.