Pan-Seared Scallops

Copyright 2016 America's Test Kitchen

We recommend buying “dry” scallops, which don’t have chemical additives and taste better than “wet.” Dry scallops will look ivory or pinkish; wet scallops are bright white. If using wet scallops, soak them in a solution of 1 quart cold water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons salt for 30 minutes before proceeding with step 1, and do not season with salt in step 2. To remove the tendons from the scallops, simply peel away the small, rough textured crescent-shaped tendon and discard.

  • 1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops, tendons removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Lemon wedges or Orange-Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

1. Place scallops on rimmed baking sheet lined with clean dish towel. Place second clean dish towel on top of scallops and press gently on towel to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while towels absorb moisture.

2. Sprinkle scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12‑inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of scallops in single layer, flat side down, and cook, without moving, until well browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

3. Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops and continue to cook, using large spoon to baste scallops with melted butter (tilt skillet so butter runs to 1 side) until sides of scallops are firm and centers are opaque, 30 to 90 seconds longer (remove smaller scallops as they finish cooking). Transfer scallops to large plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Wipe out skillet with wad of paper towels and repeat cooking with remaining oil, scallops, and butter. Serve immediately with lemon wedges or vinaigrette.

Orange-Lime Vinaigrette

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Combine orange juice, lime juice, shallot, cilantro, and pepper flakes in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in vegetable and olive oils. Season with salt to taste.

Cook time: 
Yield: 
Serves 4
 
  • The road to Samarkand

    The city of Samarkand is on the storied Silk Road, but off the beaten path for many tourists. Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford make the case for the ancient Uzbek city's food and culture in their new book, Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & The Caucasus. They spoke with Lynne Rossetto Kasper about it.

Top Recipes

Breaking Southern food stereotypes with chef Edouardo Jordan of Junebaby

Chef Edouardo Jordan takes Southern food to a new level, highlighting Southern ingredients and tradition at his Seattle restaurant, Junebaby. Host Francis Lam talked with Jordan about his deep research into Southern cooking, and what it means to present Southern cuisine in the opposite corner of the country.