Perfectly Seared Scallops

/// February 22nd, 2015

Perfectly Seared Scallops
Scallops are one of those things that are SO simple to cook, and yet, so simple to screw up. I have to admit I botched a few batches myself back in the day (it was like eating rubber!), but with their hefty price tag, I quickly made it my mission to learn the key to a perfectly seared scallop. And by perfect, I mean a scallop with a flavorful crust and an interior so tender it basically melts in your mouth. That’s perfection!

Perfectly Seared Scallops

Perfectly Seared Scallops The good thing about this whole post is that perfectly seared scallops are easy as 1-2-3. I totally was going to type “easy as pie”, but ya know, these little guys are waaaay simpler than that whole situation πŸ˜‰

The first thing you want to do is make sure you have good quality scallops. I know they’re pricey, but I think that if you’re going to put in the effort – especially with seafood – freshness and quality are always key, so get the best you can.

Perfectly Seared Scallops

Once you’ve selected your scallops, all you need to do is pat them dry, sprinkle them well with salt and pepper (freshly grated is always the best!), and toss them in a buttered hot skillet. Now! Here’s where you need to pay attention – do not over cook these babies! I repeat: DO NOT OVERCOOK. Pardon the yelling; but that part is so crucial!!!

Oh, and serve these sensational scallops right away!!! They shouldn’t wait more than a few minutes before entering a mouth. And just a heads up – they always taste best fresh from the skillet, so I’d suggest stealing one or two straight from the pan before serving πŸ˜‰

Perfectly Seared Scallops

Perfectly Seared Scallops

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sea scallops, patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Freshly ground sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon for squeezing, optional

Instructions

  1. Remove tiny side muscle from the scallops if they have them, then rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Add the butter and oil to a large saute pan over high heat.
  3. Generously salt and pepper the scallops. Once the butter/oil combo begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching. Sear scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side - not touching them at all while they're searing. The scallops should have a nice golden crust on each side and be translucent in the center. Serve right away!!!
http://bakerbynature.com/perfectly-seared-scallops/

If you don’t already own a cast-iron skillet, RUN – don’t walk – and buy one today! I use mine every single day and know it’ll be something I pass down to my kids. This is the one I have (we actually own 3!) and I highly recommend it!

You’ll also love:

Perfect Pan Seared Steaks

Perfect Pan Seared Steak
One-Pan Cacio e Pepe (Great with scallops!)

One-Pan Cacio e Pepe *this post contains an affiliate link; all opinions are truly my own



53 thoughts on “Perfectly Seared Scallops

    1. Jane

      I don’t normally make comments, but this recipe is the bomb! I followed the directions as written and used a cast iron frying pan. I thoroughly dried the scallops using paper towels. Cooking on Hi was not an issue. My husband loved it and I’m looking forward to making this dish again. Thanks for the recipe!

      Reply
  1. Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps

    I was JUST putting together some blog post ideas for scallops. These look seriously perfect, perfectly seared, perfectly brown — just perfect. I agree– you MUST invest in good quality scallops, none of that watery crap will suffice!

    Reply
  2. Ari @ Ari's Menu

    I looooove seared scallops. When done right, they are definitely one of my favorite things to eat. I have been wanting to make my own for a long time, but I’m always nervous they won’t turn out. These look beeeautiful my friend, and so simple!

    Reply
  3. Dk762

    they look fabulous. I too have tried many times making the perfect scallop & failed. You have given me the urge to give it another shot……Thanks from one scallop lover to another.

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Debbie. I know how frustrating it can be to fail at a recipe. I hope you’ll give this cooking method a shot. It’s pretty foolproof! And absolutely delicious. They two real keys are a super hot pan and not overcooking them. Good luck!

      Reply
    1. bbos42 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

      Steam them? OMG!

      Reply
  4. becs

    No one discussed one of THE key instructions. Recipe says to pat them dry. LOL
    I fold about 9 layers of paper towel for the top and bottom when I cook a pound. I put them in a single layer between the paper towels and PRESS like the dickens, and then I set another plate on top weighted down with cans, for a bit. This step is very important, to minimize any water leaching out and ruining the quick cook/browning of the scallop.

    Reply
  5. Bunny

    To sear, they must be “dry packed” scallops which are not that easy to come by. Ask your fish guy. The other wet pak scallops will emit moisture while cooking and won’t sear until that moisture dries out and then the scallop is overdone. Dry packs are way more money but totally worth it.

    Reply
  6. Phil

    Liked your recipes however will never use your site again. So many popup ads I couldn’t read anything. One of the most annoying sites I have ever used

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Phil. I actually do not have any popup ads on my blog. However I do have a tune-up bar on the top, which is easily clicked out of. Other than that, all of my ads are silent and on the sidebar.

      Reply
    2. Lori

      It sounds like you have been attacked by adware… same thing happened to me a few months ago.. this site doesn’t have pop ups for me… some other sites do, but not this one. I had to take my computer in for a checkup before it was even usable… very frustrating it was!

      Reply
      1. bakerbynature Post author

        Hi Lori. Thank you for your thoughtful comment :) I strive to keep this site as basic with ads as possible, and although the pop-ups pay big $, I don’t place them on this site because they are annoying as heck! Hopefully Mr.Phil gets the adware fixed soon so he can start surfing pop-up free πŸ˜‰ xo

        Reply
  7. Terri

    wow,, looks so simple.. I see these WONDERFUL large scallops at SAMs club.. want them sooo bad..ha but soo afraid to try and cook them. You have given me some confidence. I think I”m gonna try!!!!!.

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Terri. It really is so simple! I make them all the time (well… at least as often as I allow myself to splurge on scallops!). I hope you give them a go :) xo

      Reply
  8. Charlie

    best shellfish in the world, amazing dusted in a littlesuperfine crumb of Hazelnuts, maldon and black pepper, super hot pan, tiny drizzle of rapeseed oil, butter, quick sear and serve with ginger and garlic aioli, rocket and lime wedge, mouth watering!!

    Reply
  9. Casey

    Hi there! This recipe looks amazing. I couldn’t find the link for your cast iron suggestion. Could you leave a comment please? I know I need one now because I definitely have to give this recipe a try. :)

    Reply
    1. bakerbynature Post author

      Hi Casey! The link is right below the instructions in the recipe box above the comments. Let me know if you still can’t find it and I’ll send it to you another way πŸ˜‰ xo

      Reply
  10. sunny

    I’m surprised you didn’t talk about the importance of getting dry-packed scallops. Here in the midwest, most frozen scallops, even expensive ones, are wet-packed in a solution. Patting the outside of them off is uselless. Unless you blot them on towels for 24 hrs, changing the towels several times during that period, they will not sear, only poach.

    Reply
  11. Diane Glover

    This is exactly the way my mom used to cook them and in an iron skillet. We got them fresh, straight off the boat because my brother and brother-in-law both were commercial fishermen and Captains of scallop fishing boats in New England. They are melt in your mouth delicious!

    Reply
  12. bill boswell

    Your recipe is great! I too saw the Alton Brown show on scallops. I don’t get dry scallops and I blot them lightly with paper towel, salt and pepper them and dredge lightly through flout. Very hot oil, sear outside turn and take up. Then add butter pats and boil water out and brown solids for a poring sauce. Where did all these people find all these problems? Oh yes, pull off the side muscle, It could possibly contain sand.

    Reply
  13. Lauren

    Looks delish but unfortunately the instructions aren’t great. What tempature do you cook them at i.e. Medium low, Medium high, high? Also, on average how long do you cook them on each side? What are you looking for to know they aren’t under or overlooked? This recipe is too vague..

    Reply
  14. Bre'Auna

    Do you have to use unsalted butter? Or can you use salted?..also what if i don’t have a cast iron skillet can i use a stainless steel?

    Reply

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