Seared Scallops on Quinoa Risotto

Oh yes, this is an amazing dinner. I could bathe in this risotto and use the scallops for pillows. This recipe doesn’t make quite that much, but it happily filled our bellies and left more lunch tomorrow, huzzah! I bought the scallops weeks ago in anticipation of this meal but just hadn’t had a chance to gather the rest of the ingredients. The final touch was a batch of fiddleheads, which I have heard of, seen, but have never made. I used quinoa for this risotto because we have a lot of it on hand and I thought it would be something unique, and it worked perfectly.

Gen’s quote, “It was tasty and cheesy, I liked the cheesiness and the fiddleheads. I liked the lemon zest, could’ve even used more. Make it again please!” It’s true, I used less lemon zest then intended, largely because I don’t have a zester and I had to make do, but also because I am hesitant about citrus in savoury dishes… well it ROCKED in this dish, so yes, there will be more zest next time, because I am definitely making this again!

Quinoa Fiddlehead Risotto

Adapted from this lovely Vogue recipe.


  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1 large onion (I used yellow, but any colour will work)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1-1.5 litres of homemade chicken stock (or vegetables stock)
  • 1 1/4 cup of fiddleheads (one package at 10oz)
    • Alternatively/also you can use asparagus
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 cups grated parmesan (throw the rind in during cooking for extra flavour)
  • 1 lemon’s worth of zest and juice (wash the lemon to remove any wax)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 chives or any green herbs roughly chopped


  1. Thoroughly wash fiddleheads with cold water (at least three times) removing as much of the brown papery stuff as possible. Trim the ends. Bowl a pot of water and add the fiddleheads, boil for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse. (Do not be alarmed if the boiling water is dark brown, it is not to keep, chuck it)

    Rinsed and ready to cook.

  2. While the fiddleheads boil, pour the chicken stock into a saucepan, bring to a boil and keep at a low simmer, lid on.
  3. In a separate, large, wide pan, heat a tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the boiled fiddleheads, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, set aside.
  4. Heat up the last 2 tbsp of butter and gently fry the chopped onion for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and the rinsed quinoa and stir well for a minute until the quinoa is thoroughly coated in the butter.
  6. Add your white wine and stir to deglaze the pan.
  7. Add a ladle of your hot stock to your pan, stir until it begins to be absorbed by the quinoa. Continue adding 2 or 3 ladles of stock to the quinoa as it absorbs it, unlike rice risotto, the quinoa is forgiving and you don’t have to watch it constantly.
  8. The original recipe suggested that the risotto would be close to done in 8 minutes, mine took closer to 15-20. I started testing the tenderness at about 10 minutes and made judgements from there. Once your quinoa is close to done (almost tender) add in the fiddleheads and the peas, stir them in gently.
  9. About now you will want to start your scallops, they are quick but it is good to have both parts of the dish ready to go at once.
  10. Turn off the heat after a few minutes, you may have stock left over (I had a couple of cups worth), you can add more if you want a soupier risotto.
  11. Stir through your grated cheese, herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

    Grated parm and zested lemon, ready for the risotto.

    Adjust as necessary.

  12. Top with extra fiddleheads if you thought ahead for presentation purposes… I clearly didn’t. Sprinkle with chives.

Seared Scallops


  • 12 large scallops
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Pat the scallops dry, salt and pepper both sides.
  2. Put the butter and oil in a large pan over high heat.
  3. When the oil begins to smoke add the scallops, placing them evenly in the pan.

    Lovely large scallops searing away.

  4. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. When you flip them, they should’ve formed a brown crust.
  5. They are done when they are slightly firm, and opaque on the ends.
    If you over cook them, they will be tough, be careful!
  6. Plop these on top of a pile of risotto.

Creamy, rich, fresh.

4 thoughts on “Seared Scallops on Quinoa Risotto

  1. I feel a bit inadequate as I read this while eating KD (but, pro tip: try adding cheese powder and greek yogurt, no milk or butter, for a tangier version). I’ve never tried fiddleheads either, and they seem more common here, so I probably should. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • You are my official blog commentator! Great tips, I will definitely try! The fiddleheads were good, kind of like asparagus, but they were a lot of work, what with the trimming and washing and boiling.

  2. This looks awesome! Never had the pleasure of trying fiddleheads, I really want to but I’ve never seen them for sale here.

    • It is crazy delicious! The fiddleheads were good but a lot of work, I am not sure if they were special enough for me to use again. I have been seeing fiddleheads all over the place lately, mostly in organic food places. You might be able to hunt some down at a farmers market or Nesters (which is where I got mine), if they have that on the island.

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