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OPERA EATS: Pan-Seared Scallops and Crispy Bacon with Parmesan Risotto and Sautéed Asparagus

In this post-COVID-19 era, home cooking is getting its mojo back, and Fort Worth Opera has curated a series of recipes from our incredible staff and singers! Join us as we dive into the culinary minds of the opera world!

Photo courtesy of Ryan Scott Lathan.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Scott Lathan.

Hi, FWO friends! I'm Ryan Scott Lathan, and since 2016 I have been the Manager of Marketing and Communications at Fort Worth Opera. Growing up with a father in the Air Force, my family bounced around Texas and the UK, but I consider myself a Fort Worthian at heart. I finished my undergraduate studies in vocal performance and psychology at Texas Christian University. I then received my Masters of Music in Performance and Literature and Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Ryan Scott Lathan. Photo by Fay Fox.
Ryan Scott Lathan; photo by Fay Fox.

Outside of arts marketing and PR, I am a music critic and journalist for PopMatters, an international online magazine of cultural criticism, and have reviewed albums and interviewed artists since 2013. I am currently writing my first novel, a psychological thriller, and dark comedy set in Texas and the boroughs of NYC. Fort Worth Opera has been a part of my life since I played a gingerbread boy in the company's 1989 production of Hansel and Gretel at the old John F. Kennedy Theater. I love my FWO family and I look forward to celebrating our 75th anniversary season in 2021.

Here is my recipe for pan-seared scallops and crispy bacon on a bed on parmesan risotto with sautéed asparagus. Enjoy!

Pan-seared Scallops & Crispy Bacon


  • 1 pound Atlantic sea scallops

  • 4 slices bacon, diced into smaller pieces

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add your bacon and cook until crispy (about 6-8 minutes). Drain any excess fat and leave a bit of the grease in the skillet. Pat the bacon dry to remove extraneous grease and place on a plate topped with a paper towel.

The there is a side muscle on the scallops, remove it, and rise with cold water. Pat dry and season with salt and course black pepper. Add your scallops to the skillet and flip until golden brown and translucent in the center (1-2 minutes per side). Remove from skillet and place on another plate topped with a paper towel.

Met 1/2 cup butter in the skillet and add white wine, garlic, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper, to taste. Stir frequently for a few minutes and then add bacon and scallops. Drizzle sauce over risotto and place bacon and scallops on top.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Scott Lathan.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Scott Lathan.

Parmesan Risotto with Sautéed Asparagus


  • 1½ cups arborio rice

  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • 1 quart vegetable stock

  • ½ cup white wine

  • 2 minced garlic cloves

  • 2 chopped shallots

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) of butter

  • 1 lb of asparagus, chopped in 1 inch pieces (about 1-2 cups)

  • Fresh squeezed juice from half a lemon

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then blanch the chopped asparagus pieces for about two minutes. Drain the water and rinse the asparagus under cold water. Make sure that the asparagus is then dry.

Bring your vegetable broth to a simmer in small saucepan, and then reduce the heat to low temperature, so that the broth remains warm. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a separate large saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic cloves, chopped shallots and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add the arborio rice and stir for 3 minutes, then pour your white wine in (I used pinot grigio, but sauvignon blanc or a non-oaky chardonnay work perfectly) and cook until the liquid evaporates.

Continue cooking until rice is tender but still a bit firm in the center and your blend of ingredients becomes creamy. Add the vegetable broth 1 cup at a time and continuously stir for about 20 minutes. If your arm gets tired, put on some boppin’ jams and find a rhythm as you switch from arm to arm.

Add blanched asparagus pieces and stir until heated through, which is about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 6 tablespoons melted butter and stir until it is all folded in together. Stir in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and season your risotto to your liking with salt and pepper as needed.

As always, from our kitchen to yours, this is OPERA EATS.

Ryan Scott Lathan; photo by Fay Fox.
Ryan Scott Lathan; photo by Fay Fox.

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