Intimidated by seafood preparation at home? Start simple … Bruce Tretter shows you how to sear sea scallops perfectly.
TIP: Yah, sea scallops can be expensive, but, wow, are they great for special occasions! They’re mild in sea flavor, succulently sweet—and very quick & easy to make.
Preparation Time: 2-5 minutes
Cooking Time: 7-10 minutes
1/2 – 3/4 Pound of Sea Scallops
2-3 Garlic Cloves
Olive or Vegetable Oil
Balsamic Vinegar (optional, but adds zesty sweet & sour flavor)
Ground Black Pepper (optional)
10-12 Inch Frying Pan with Top
Large Sharp (Chef’s) Knife
1. Put the the frying on the stove, and turn on the burner to MEDIUM heat.
2. While the pan warms, break off 2-3 garlic cloves from a garlic bulb.
Put one garlic clove at a time under the flat side of wide bladed (chef’s) knife, and press down on the top flat side of the knife with the heel of your hand to break the garlic cloves open to make peeling the garlic skin easy.
Peel the garlic skin. Then slice and chop the garlic until it looks about as shown in the third picture below.
3. Add the chopped garlic to the scallops along with a shot of both balsamic vinegar and olive (or vegetable) oil.
Stir with a tablespoon until the scallops are coated evenly with all the added ingredients.
4. Check the frying pan for the proper cooking temperature by wetting your fingers with tap water and flicking the water onto the pan surface.
The pan is warmed to the proper cooking temperature when the water sizzles on contact with the pan surface and quickly evaporates. (NOTE: If the water sizzles and evaporates in a puff as soon as it hits the pan, move the pan to a cool burner for a few minutes. Turn down the heat setting a few notches on the burner you originally used, and heat the pan again. If the water doesn’t sizzle on contact,
keep heating the pan until it does.)
5. Pour the scallops onto the hot pan, spread them evenly flat side down, and cover the pan with a lid.
6. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the bottoms of the scallops start to brown.
Then turn the scallops over, again flat side down, and cover again with the pan lid.
7. Cook for another 2-5 minutes, and check for doneness by cutting into the middle of one of the biggest scallops in the pan. Scallops are done when the meat inside is uniformly opaque as shown directly below. If, however,…
…your scallops are still translucent inside as shown below, keep cooking them in a covered pan and checking for doneness until the meat inside looks as shown above.
8. When the scallops are properly cooked to doneness, scoop them from the pan and serve them either as is or topped with a good crack of ground black pepper.
9. To make cleanup as easy as possible, move the pan to a cool burner for a few minutes until it is comfortably safe to touch. Then add warm tap water and a squirt of dish detergent to the pan, and let the pan sit with the spatula in it, if necessary, for at least 10 minutes. After 10 minutes,…
…finish cleaning the pan and spatula with a dish brush and/or sponge and rinse clean.
Images courtesy of Bruce Tretter