After a recent scalloping trip in St. Joseph’s Bay we came back with a bag full of scallops. Some we ate like sushi while cleaning and others we wanted to sear. Anyone who has ever cooked scallops knows there is quite a science to achieving that perfect golden brown color on the top and bottom while keeping these little creatures from over cooking. These yummy gifts from the sea are full of lean protein which means they have to be cooked quickly and not over done or they will lose their flavor. So before you bring out the saute pan and then end up with scallops that are too pale or overcooked here are some tips we have learned over the years:
1. First and foremost you have to soak up the water that is still in those little creature. Between 2 paper towels place your scallops and pat dry. Too much water means they will not brown properly and you end up having pale scallops instead of golden brown.
2. Use a heavy saute pan, this will heat better.
3. Use tongs to flip not a spatula.
4. Use butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper – that’s it. Of course you can experiment with different recipes but for that simple seared scallop those are all the ingredients you need.
5. Sear 1 1/2 minutes on each side on high heat. This should achieve that golden brown color while keeping that inside meat just perfect where it melts in your mouth.
Here is our basic recipe:
1 lb scallops
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
Thoroughly pat dry. Add butter and oil to saute pan over high heat. Once it begins to bubble, place scallops in not touching each other. Sear 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.