I have a love/hate relationship with scallops; while I love eating them, I tend to hate cooking them. Fresh scallops that are cooked properly are sweet, buttery, and will practically melt in your mouth. Fresh scallops that are just slightly overcooked are like little fishy, chewy hockey pucks. Let me just say that once you've experienced them, it's hard to get the fear of cooking scallops and ending up with those chewy pucks out of your mind. Yuck.
I stopped by Fresh Farms International Market the the other day (that place is awesome!) and was enticed by a special deal on some beautiful scallops. I decided it was time to give my scallop cooking skills another try. I used a recipe for seared scallops from Alton Brown (slightly modified) that I saw on a episode of Good Eats years ago and I'm proud to say that I ended up with a really amazing dish. The scallops had a lovely caramel coating on the outside and were tender and buttery on the inside.
If you've never cooked scallops or you just want a simplistic way to prepare them that will really allow for the flavor of the scallops to shine, I highly recommend this easy recipe!
1 to 1 1/4 lbs dry sea scallops (approximately 16)
2 tsp unsalted butter
2 tsp olive oil
Truffle salt (the original recipe calls for Kosher salt, but the truffle salt gives it a really lovely flavor)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry (this is especially important - do not try to sear wet scallops or else they will burn!).
2. Add the butter and oil to a 12 to 14-inch sauté pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops.
3. Once the pans begins to slightly smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1-2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4 inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Remember that the scallops will cook very quickly - keep a close eye on them and do not cook them for more than 2 minutes on each side or else you will end up with chewy hockey pucks!