Sunday, 30 September 2012

How To Exercise A Little Portion Control - St Jacques With Coriander & Peanut Pesto

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Seafood, pesto, portion control.  For this week's Weekend Dinner Party themed post, I've chosen a gorgeous French number that has drawn flavours from the Asian world.  The coriander, lime and peanut based pesto sauce is phenomenal, zesty and absolutely delish.

Scallops are one of my favourite things in the world but it's always a good idea to check with your guests to make sure that they like seafood!  I've also chosen this recipe as it illustrates the essential steps every good host should bear in mind for the weight-conscious diner; portion control.

If you dread hosting dinner parties because you are worried about over-eating, let me assure you that its impossible to do so with this fabulous recipe.  Firstly, it is a tiny bit labour intensive but don't let that put you off.  It's so tasty that you will savour every mouthful when you finally do sit down to enjoy it.  Eating slowly allows you to recognise early when you are full.

I realise that everyone wants to please their guests with plenty to eat, but the health conscious diner may resent you afterwards for the extra indulgent mouthfuls eaten.

Life's just too short for regrets.  Show no signs of slowing down, there's no reason why you cannot attend or host dinner parties if you are trying to eat healthy and lose weight.  Simply exercise a little portion control, choose ingredients that boast flavour but without the weight of added calories.


And of course, this recipe is milk, egg, wheat, gluten and soy free.  It does however, contain peanuts, therefore is not nut free.  

Expecting a vegetarian diner?  No problem, simply substitute the scallops for tofu.  It will work 
beautifully with the pesto sauce.



Saint-Jacques With Coriander & Peanut Pesto Sauce


INGREDIENTS

500ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons mirin*
1 tablespoon lemon grass
2 kaffir lime leaves
3 rounded teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon fish sauce (check thickeners to ensure gluten / wheat free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, chopped finely
4 red onions, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons ginger, chopped finely
1 teaspoon ground white pepper

140g risotto rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon gluten and wheat free flour
16 large scallops
1 lime, sliced


For the pesto
2 tablespoons, dry roasted and unsalted peanuts
50g coriander leaves, chopped using scissors
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger
Pinch of white pepper
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Serves 4


Purple Tip - The rice requires 3 hours of cool time in the fridge.  If you are expecting guests in the evening, I would prepare the rice earlier in the day.


DIRECTIONS


  1. In a saucepan, add the vegetable stock, *mirin (this is a type of Japanese rice wine which I did not have, so I used wine and added a little sugar), lemon grass, kiffir leaves, ground coriander, fish sauce and allow to boil for a few minutes, then simmer.
  2.  In a casserole dish, add olive oil, shallot, onions, garlic, ginger and white pepper.  Temper for a few minutes and enjoy the aromas released.
  3. Add the rice and coat each grain in the oil.
  4. Remove lemon grass from the stock then pour this into the rice in 100ml aliquots and only when the rice has absorbed the liquid.  Add up to an extra 200ml of water if necessary.
  5. The rice is done when all of the liquid has been absorbed.  Now allow to cool then keep in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  6. To prepare the pesto, first add the peanuts into a grinder.  Grind till you have a paste but with 'bits' in it.
  7. In a blender, add the peanuts, coriander leaves, garlic, ginger and white pepper.  Blend for a couple of minutes or until you have a green paste.  Now add the freshly squeezed lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce and vegetable oil.  Mix well then set aside.
  8. To make the risotto galettes, shape into 4 balls then press gentle with your hands to flatten.  Cover with cling film and return them to cool in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a saucepan.  When the galettes are ready, dust with a little bit of flour then fry evenly on both sides for 2 minutes each side.  Repeat this step a few times so that the galettes are crispy on the outside.
  10. Place the galettes on paper towel to remove excess oil.
  11. Now temper the scallops or tofu in a saucepan with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  You will need to cook evenly on both sides.
  12. Serve immediately with the galette, scallops, a generous serve of the pesto and lime slices on the side.  

Purple Tip - Don't forget a little salad or portion of vegetables on the side



Now remember, the 3 steps to a successful dieter's dinner party are:

  • Go for pre-portioned meals to reduce the temptation for seconds.
  • Choose tasty dishes that promote use of herbs or spices with focus on quality rather than quantity.
  • Engage your guests in conversation to allow your guests to eat slowly and savour every mouthful.
Have a great week lovely readers!  What are your tips for successful dining when also trying to shed pounds?


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