Sunflower Seed Risotto with Seared Scallops

a unique take on risotto topped with perfectly seared scallops and an arugula salad

  • Author: Kayla Howey



Sunflower Seed Risotto

  • 1 qt stock
  • canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • small chunk of parmesan cheese

Arugula Salad

  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup watercress

Seared Scallops

  • 12 sea scallops (3 per person)
  • canola oil
  • maldon salt, to finish


Sunflower Seed Risotto

  1. Add the stock to a small saucepan and heat over low heat, just to warm through (don’t let boil). Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a separate medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the sunflower seeds and let toast for about 2 minutes in the oil. Add the fresh thyme. Slowly begin to add the warm stock in ¼ cup increments, continuously stirring the seeds. Add more stock only when the seeds have absorbed what’s in the pot. This process will take about 35-40 minutes for the seeds to absorb all the stock. Grate the parmesan into the “risotto” using a microplane, about ¼ cup. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning; add more salt or black pepper if needed. Serve warm.

Arugula Salad

  1. Whisk together the fresh orange juice, sherry vinegar, and mayo. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking to emulsify the dressing. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Toss the arugula and watercress together in a mixing bowl. Wait to dress the salad until right before serving so that the greens do not get soggy. When you’re ready to serve, add a small amount of dressing to the greens and use your hands to toss. Slowly add more dressing if needed, little by little. Store any extra dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for future use.

Seared Scallops

  1. Remove the small, tough muscle off the sides of each scallop. Pat the scallops dry and season with salt & black pepper. Heat a large pan over medium heat (you may need to use two pans to fit all the scallops; you don’t want to overcrowd the pan). Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is sizzling hot, place the scallops, flat-side down, into the pan (the oil needs to be extremely hot so that the scallops do not stick). Let the scallops sear for a few minutes (without messing with them) until they’re dark brown, but still golden. Flip each scallop over and add a spoonful of butter. Baste the scallops with the butter for about 30 more seconds to finish cooking. Be careful not to overcook the scallops or they will be rubbery. Serve immediately.

To Serve

  1. Serve a small spoonful of sunflower seed risotto on a plate. Arrange the scallops on top with a sprinkle of maldon salt on each one. Finish with a big mound of arugula salad in the middle.