Pan-Seared Scallops

Got frozen scallops and asparagus from Costco. The scallops turned out great (best ever according to Laura) so I thought I would share what we did.

Note: You always want to get “dry pack” scallops.  In the seafood business, there are two ways scallops are handled (and sold) on the market: dry and soaked. “Soaked” (also known as “wet” or “treated”) scallops have been soaked in a bath of phosphates (or more precisely- sodium tripolyphosphate), for the purpose of adding water-weight. If the package ingredients just say scallops and nothing else you are good to go.

Cardinal rule: Scallops must be dry or they will not develop their wonderful brown crust when cooking. Thawing them under running water makes them absorb water and they will not be dry.

First we let the scallops thaw partially in the fridge. Then Laura wrapped them in paper towels so the remaining water they exuded would be absorbed, put them on a plate on the counter. We let them sit until they were at room temperature.

When you are ready to cook, unwrap the now-dry scallops and season them with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Make sure everything else is ready to go because the cooking will only take minutes.

Use a large non-stick skillet. You do not want to crowd the scallops. We only cook 4 scallops each since the ones we get from Costco are good sized. I do this on the side burner of our gas grill because we try not to fry stuff in the house. I turn the flame up all the way and add about a tablespoon of butter. I let the butter melt and wait until the foaming stops.

Add the scallops with your fingers and swish them a bit in the butter to “wet” them. Once they are in DON’T TOUCH THEM! Let them do their thing. Watch the sides near the bottom. When the edges are getting brown after about 1 1/2 minutes, check one scallop for doneness. It should be nice and brown and crusty. Using tongs flip them over and again leave them alone. You can push lightly down to check for doneness, when they are ready they will feel a little firmer.

Serve them immediately with a nice chilled Sauvignon Blanc.


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