Pan Seared Scallops
Producing restaurant-style pan seared scallops with perfectly browned exteriors and moist, tender centers at home requires overcoming a major obstacle: a bad stovetop and or pan. The heat-retaining power of a cast-iron pan is the perfect solution.
Blotting the scallops dry, preheating the pan in the oven, and then heating oil to just smoking over medium-high heat are steps in the right direction, but butter basting really improves the pan seared scallops.
Sear the scallops in oil on one side and added butter to the skillet before flipping them. We then used a large spoon to ladle the foaming butter over the seared scallops. Adding the butter midway through cooking ensured that it had enough time to work its browning magic on the scallops but not enough time to burn.
Dry scallops will look ivory or pinkish; wet scallops are bright white.
Pan Seared Scallops Recipe
Adjust oven rack to middle position, place 12-inch cast-iron skillet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Meanwhile, place scallops in rimmed baking sheet lined with clean dish towel and top with second towel; let sit at room temperature.
When the oven reaches 500 degrees, season scallops with salt and pepper. Using potholders, remove skillet from oven and place over medium-high heat; turn off oven. Being careful of hot skillet handle, add 2 tablespoons oil and heat until just smoking. Add half of the scallops, flat side down, in single layer and cook, without moving them, until well browned on first side, about 2 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops. Continue to cook, using large spoon to baste scallops with melted butter (tilt skillet so butter pools on 1 side) until sides of scallops are firm and centers are opaque, 30 to 90 seconds (remove smaller pan seared scallops as they finish cooking.
Transfer the pan seared scallops to the serving platter and tent with aluminum foil. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels and repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining scallops and remaining 1 tablespoon remaining, butter. Serve the seared scallops with lemon wedges.
Use your fingers to peel away small, crescent-shaped tendon that is sometimes attached to scallops, as it incredibly tough when cooked.
Pan Seared Scallop Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops, tendons removed
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pan Seared Scallop Variations
Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon-Caper Relish
Combine 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley; 1 minced shallot; 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and minced; 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; and 4 teaspoons lemon juice in bowl. Season with pepper to taste.
Serve with scallops.
Pan Seared Scallop Variations
Pan Seared Scallops with Orange-Lime Vinaigrette
Whisk 2 tablespoons orange juice, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 small minced shallot, 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro, and . teaspoon red pepper flakes together in medium bowl, then slowly whisk in . cup ext