If you like Scallops and have only ever had them battered and fried; you are missing out on something pretty special and extremely simple to make. Sea Scallops need very little attention before you can enjoy them. Make sure to remove the small side muscle from each scallop, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.
Get out your favorite 12 to 14-inch sauté pan heat to about high to medium high and add a small amount of olive oil, once the oil start to shimmer and just before smoking. Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper each scallop and place them gently into the pan; careful not to let them touch each other. Sear the scallops for a 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side. They should have about a ¼ inch golden brown crust on each side. Take special care not to overcook them; they will become rubbery. The center should be translucent.
Transfer them to a plate and enjoy! OR I personally enjoy making a simple sauce to serve over them. A little white wine, some fresh crushed garlic and to finish it off a tablespoon or two of butter and life is good!
While the heat is still on add some white wine, with a wooden spoon scrape up all the yummy leftover bits. Cook down the wine for like 3-5 minutes, turn off the heat and add a pat or two of butter. Once melted you can add the scallops back to the pan to re-heat a little or just pour the love over them and enjoy.
Searing is a very important part of making a wonderful flavorful caramelization to most meat. It is all about building the depth of flavors. Most people want to move, flip and lift whatever it is they are searing. Please refrain from touching it for 1-2 minutes for scallops, 3-5 minutes for pork and beef – time is relative to your personal stove; only you know how hot it gets, how quickly it heats up. I sear Steak, Chicken, Pork and fish fairly often and finish it off in the oven.
Make sure your using a pan that can go into a hot oven, make sure you pre-heat your oven. Size matters; that is the thickness of the meat you are searing and finishing off in the oven. Times will vary so if you have an instant meat thermometer; that will help you until you get a feel for how long things will take to your doneness.
In one of my cooking classes we were searing chicken. I had 2 saute pans and 2 students watching them. I literally had to set the timer on my stove to help them with the timing. Another good tip is to wait for the meat to release itself; that is another way to know when you should flip to the other side. If you have to fight to remove what you are searing from the pan, it is not done building flavors.
I work with one of the students from this class. She came up to me last week and told me she waited for the chicken to release before turning and her whole family loved the crust and additional flavor that it added to her dish. She mentioned it was pretty painful for her to not flip but I was in her head saying let it be; leave it alone…I love hearing these types of stories.