This recipe is impressive enough for company but easy enough for a weeknight. Smoky, salty bacon tastes delicious with naturally sweet foods like corn and scallops. Here, we combined all three ingredients in this sophisticated risotto-like dish made with Arborio rice. We recommend sea scallops for this recipe. The smaller bay scallops are not large enough to get a good sear without overcooking. For a crisp, golden brown sear, ensure the pan is very hot and pat the scallops dry with a paper towel before adding them to the pan. Instead of stirring the charred corn into the rice, you can serve it over the scallops, if you prefer.
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 thyme sprig
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 cup half-and-half
4 thick-cut bacon slices
2 cups fresh yellow corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 1/2 pounds dry sea scallops
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
How to Make It
Combine rice, chicken broth, and water in a large pot over high, and bring to a boil. Stir in thyme sprig, butter, 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and take out thyme. Stir in half-and-half. Cover to keep warm.
While rice is cooking, cook bacon in a large cast-iron skillet over medium, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
Place skillet with drippings over high, and add corn. Cook, stirring often, until corn begins to char, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove corn from skillet, and stir into cooked rice.
Place skillet with remaining drippings over medium-high. Sprinkle scallops with remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and sear in hot drippings until charred, about 1 minute per side. Stir bacon into warm rice. Serve scallops over creamy rice mixture sprinkled with chopped chives.