How do I sear scallops

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HalfPint
HalfPint April 5, 2013

Pat the scallops with a paper towel to dry the surfaces. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a pan on high heat. When the pan is hot, add some oil. 1-2 TB, any neutral oil. When the oil shimmers and starts to just smoke, gently lay the scallops down on one of it's flat sides. If you are using a stainless steel pan, the scallop will stick initially, and release when it develops a good sear. When it does that, flip and sear the other side. Don't try to force it to unstick. It just tears up the scallop. When the scallop is properly seared it will release from the pan on it's own. Don't add too many scallops to the pan or the scallops will steam instead of sear. Cook on the other side until it browns/sears to a dark golden color. Remove from the pan to a warm plate and enjoy. Don't worry about doneness. Scallops are one of the safest shellfish to eat raw since what we consume is just one big muscle. And, in my humble opinion, a totally cooked scallop is tough and stringy.
You can sear scallops in a non-stick pan, but I've never had good results with the sear when I used non-stick. Not that it's impossible as long as you remember to dry the scallops, cook on high with a good amount of oil, and don't crowd the pan.

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ChefOno
ChefOno April 5, 2013

As above. Clarified butter is an excellent choice here; its flavor will complement the dish.

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dymnyno
dymnyno April 5, 2013

Sound advice from Halfpint and ChefOno. Also be sure to use fresh scallops. A lot of frozen scallops are injected with a solution to plump them up and when you saute them they never stop releasing liquid instead of browning perfectly.

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petitbleu
petitbleu April 5, 2013

Yes, look for "dry packed" scallops--they will be pinkish or off-white. These have not been plumped up.

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