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Dec 28, 2008 08:00 PM

How do I Cook Scallops

I want to sear some large scallops I bought tonight for dinner tomorrow. I want to use as little as fat as possible. Basically I have most jarred spices under the sun, Pam, etc. What's a very easy way to sear. A step-by-step guide would be much appreciated.

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  1. Hopefully dry pack scallops. Pat them dry and heat a cast iron pan or SS skillet to medium hot. (No teflon, as it will not sear well.) Apply a paste of equal parts white miso and maple syrup to each scallop.

    Spray the pan with PAM and add 2T butter; when it is foaming add the scallops and sear 2 minutes per side. Remove them, and make a quick pan sauce:

    Deglaze the pan with white wine or sherry, and finish the sauce with herbs and butter.

    1. The biggest mantra is to have no fear. You need a skillet heated as high as it will go. The scallops need to be dry and seasoned. The barest drip of oil, put the scallops in, and let them go. There will be some smoking. The searing will first stick the scallops to the hot surface, but then they should release. The dark coloring adds flavor and complexity -- brown and speckled is good, black is burned. It is a delicate balance; overcooking turns scallops into rubbery erasers, undercooking is preferable since there will be carryover heat, just make sure you got the sear. You will be tempted to turn down the heat because you believe the smoke and sear and sizzle is too much -- resist that impulse, keep the heat high, and pull them off earlier.

      1. Butter.

        The only spice I would use is ground pepper, very finely ground.

        1. Here's my favorite method:

          Preheat oven to 475
          Clean and trim scallops
          Heat oil (enough to coat bottom of pan) in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat
          When hot, put in scallops; they should sizzle
          Transfer to oven
          Large scallops should be done in about 5 minutes; test for doneness either by cutting into one or by feel (firm but juicy)

          1 Reply
          1. re: jlafler

            I like this one, jlafler, I will give it a try. Thanks for the technique suggestion.

          2. Pat your scallops dry (with a paper towel)

            Heat up a non-stick frying pan (or a cast iron pan if you've got one)

            Add some olive oil, and make sure to get the oil very hot (just to the fringe of its smoking point)

            Place the scallops in the pan flat side down, don't overcrowd the pan with scallops or you'll end up with a steaming effect.

            Once the scallops are in the pan DO NOT MOVE THEM AROUND. Depending on the size, let them cook for about 2 minutes (3 to 4 minutes for larger scallops).

            After 2 minutes, flip the scallops and cook for about another 2 minutes. You should try to get a nice, brown crust on each side.

            Remove from pan and serve with whatever accouterments or sauces you've prepared.