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Mar 3, 2008 11:27 AM

Need advice on searing enormous scallops

Just got back from the Farmer's Market with 12 enormous scallops (2-3 ounces each), that I plan to cook tonight, but I need some cooking time advice. They are currently marinating in my own special blend of equal parts rice vinegar, sake and soy sauce with plenty of ginger and red pepper flakes, then I plan to sear them in an iron skillet lined with sesame oil for one minute on each side, then pop the whole skillet into an over at 450.

My questions: (1) will the searing be enough to cook them all the way; (2) if we want them cooked but not at all overdone (medium to medium rare), how long should the skillet be in the oven; (3) do they have to be removed from the skillet immediately after coming out of the oven; and (4) how much will they cook after coming out of the oven? Serving on a bed of sauteed bok choy, basil and rapini, and also trying to decide if adding fresh garlic to that would be one flavor too many.

Any and all thoughts welcome.

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  1. One thing is certain.... Marinating in Rice vinegar, Sake, and Soy they will never taste like a Scollop again! I hope that was your intention because you don't like the flavor of Scallops. If they have been in that much "acid" for very long they may already be cooked!! To sear properly Scallops need to be very dry! Not wet. If you have a choice in the future buy only dry pack scallops. Sear in a very, very hot pan for a couple of minutes per side in a tiny amout of light oil... Sesame oil is very dominating...Next time just dry, sear, and enjoy the sweet delicate flavor of Scallops! Keep it simple.
    Make a sauce and serve it on the side if you wanna experiment with flavors.


    1. If you like them rare, sear in a hot pan for a max of 2 minutes a side. I've never sinished them in the oven; don't see any need to with such a short cooking time.

      I like them better done, so I fry them for 4 minutes a side on low heat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mpalmer6c

        I like mine medium rare and my wife likes them fully cooked through. Different strokes you know. Still don't know if the OP's scallops are diver scallops or have been treated but as uncle bob said make sure they are very dry prior to cooking to help achieve some caramelizing. They should still feel a bit soft when touching them if you like them medium/medium rare. Better to have to toss them back in the pan for a few moments then to have them rubbery and overcooked.

      2. Different people are different - huh?!

        Scallops are a bit like Tuna, being quite lean if you really want them cooked through they will be dry (er).

        So, a raw center is no big deal with a fresh scallop. BUT if you want it cooked more - put them in when you flip them - they will take 3-5 minutes my guess. A reasonably thick salmon loin portion takes 7/8 minutes this way.

        Just rub some canola oil on the bottom of your skillet with a paper towel...if you like sesame oil drizzle it after - more for flavoring than for frying - it would guess it has lower smoke point...and you want it hot.

        yes garlic

        1 Reply
        1. re: marcharry

          Hi all. Thanks for the typical great chowhound help. Drained the marinade, then boiled and reduced it into an incredible sauce. Seared the scallops in a searing hit iron skillet for 1.5 minutes on each side and they were perfectly cooked. The rapini was underdone, so too stringy, but the other greens came out good. Will probably do this again, and the scallops were so thick that they still had plenty of scallop flavor, even after marinating all day.