seared scallops plated on dish

Sea Scallops: The Best Choice for Searing

Plump and thick, sea scallops are perfect for cooking over high heat. This can be on the hot coals of a grill or seared with buttery golden streaks of caramelization. Either way, these delicious morsels won’t last long on your plate. Since scallops offer a meatier, less fishy experience compared to other seafood, these tender hunks of protein are worthy of consideration for regular meals. Plus, you don’t need to be a master either in the kitchen or of the grill to nail a simple seared scallops recipe. Using just lemon juice, fresh herbs, and seasoning, you’ll be on your way to plating up a dish that could be served at a Michelin-starred restaurant.  

When purchasing scallops for tonight’s dinner, look for those that have been taken from the sea. You’ll find two main categories of scallops at the market: Smaller bay scallops offering a sweeter, tender flavor, and meatier sea scallops that are easier to sear in a pan and set onto hot grills. 

A dinner that demands seconds

seared sea scallops with herbs

While you can sautee bay and sea scallops in butter and garlic, the thicker pieces of meat that sea scallops provide can withstand the higher heat associated with perfect sears. Many stores sell wet and dry scallops, with wet scallops having been prepared with a solution that causes the mollusk to bloat with water. Opt instead for dry scallops, which don’t have any additional chemicals or solutions included. You may notice that these scallops appear to be a bit darker in color, but the flavor is truer to what you would find from a fresh scallop straight out of the sea.

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Dry the scallops with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper as your pan heats up. You need a very hot pan to get a good sear, a lot like cooking steak. You’ll only need to let each side of a fresh scallop cook in your choice of oil or butter for about two minutes. Serve with a garnish of fresh herbs and be sure to provide pieces of crunchy French bread for dinner guests to sop up any leftover juices. You may want to cook extra: Seared scallops make for a meal that is easily and quickly devoured. 

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