Seared Sea Scallops

Seared Sea Scallops are just delicious.  The rich flavor the crust adds and the sweet tenderness of the scallop meat itself are a heavenly combination.  But many people struggle to reproduce these at home.  Here are the keys.

Shopping for the right scallops is crucial if you want to eat restaurant quality scallops.  What you are looking for is ‘day boat’ or ‘dry scallops’.  Day boat scallops come from boats that go out in the morning and fish in nearby scallop beds that allow them to come back to shore the same day and get their product to the consumers quickly.  Scallops dry out quickly, and boats that go to the farther out beds must stay at sea for multiple days.  Since the scallops deteriorate quickly they immediately freeze the scallops right on board, or they soak them in a liquid.  This liquid is readily absorbed by the scallops and usually changes their color and texture.  It also increases the weight of the scallop.

Before cooking scallops, notice if they have a moon shaped muscle attached to their side.  If they do then peal it off because it is very tough. When cooking scallops you want them to be dry.  Blot them on a paper towel before putting them in the pan.  Use a hot pan with just a little oil.  Season them lightly with salt and pepper first.  Then put them in the pan (non-stick works best) and don’t crowd them.  Crowding will drop the temperature of the pan and you won’t get that crisp sear.  Get a good sear on one side.  Turn them over and cook for one to two minutes more, but don’t overcook them.  If you do they will get rubbery.  Don’t worry about getting the bottom side seared as well as the top.

This dish gets served over a creamy corn fritter and drizzled with just a touch of truffle oil.  Fritters are great, but that’s for another blog!  Bon Appetit, Johnny