You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to enjoy perfectly cooked, restaurant-quality seared scallops with a golden crust. With this easy recipe tutorial, you can impress your dinner party guests with a dish that is sure to leave them wanting more. And the best part? It’s super easy to make! Let’s dive in and discover how to cook scallops to perfection.
If you’re a seafood lover, you know that good quality scallops can be quite expensive. That’s why it’s crucial to know exactly how to cook them perfectly. But fear not, my friend, because I’ve got you covered with some simple tips and tricks that will make the process a breeze.
Tips for Buying Scallops
When it comes to buying scallops, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Firstly, always go for “dry” scallops instead of “wet” scallops that have been brined in water and chemicals. Dry scallops will sear better and have a more enjoyable texture when cooked. To identify dry scallops, check the label or ask the fishmonger at the store.
But what if you can’t find dry scallops? America’s Test Kitchen recommends soaking wet scallops in a mixture of cold water, lemon juice, and salt for 30 minutes to achieve a similar result.
Another thing to consider is the type of scallops. Sea scallops are the most common variety found in US grocery stores and restaurants. On the other hand, bay scallops, which are smaller and sweeter, are mostly found on the East Coast.
How to Cook Scallops
Now that you’ve got your scallops ready, it’s time to cook them to perfection. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you along the way:
Pat the scallops thoroughly dry with paper towels.
If necessary, remove the small side muscle from the scallops.
Season the scallops with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet over high heat and add oil and butter. Once hot, add the scallops, making sure to space them apart so they don’t touch. The oil in the pan should sizzle when the scallops are added.
Cook the scallops for 2 minutes without touching them, until a golden crust forms on the bottom. Then, reduce the heat to medium-high, gently flip the scallops to the other side, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until they are golden on the bottom and translucent/opaque on the sides.
Scallops cook quickly, usually in less than 5 minutes, so use the touch test to check for doneness. They should feel firm with a little bit of bounce. If needed, you can always add them back to the pan to cook a bit longer. Keep in mind that scallops will continue to cook slightly as they rest.
Garlic Butter Sauce
To elevate your scallops, serve them with a delicious garlic butter sauce. Here’s how to make it:
- Remove the cooked scallops from the pan.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and scrape any browned bits from the bottom.
- Add 3-4 cloves of garlic, juice from half a lemon, and ¼ cup of white wine, chicken, or vegetable broth. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Serve the sauce over the scallops and garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
Here are a few pro tips to ensure your scallops turn out perfectly:
- Avoid overcrowding the pan, as this will prevent the scallops from achieving a nice golden crust. If necessary, cook them in batches.
- Make sure the oil or fat in the pan is hot (but not burned) before adding the scallops. They should sizzle when they hit the pan.
Serve Scallops With
Now that you know how to cook scallops like a pro, it’s time to think about what to serve them with. Here are a few delicious options:
- Seafood Alfredo
- Mashed Potatoes and garlic butter sauce (included in recipe notes)
- Over pasta or spiralized zucchini noodles
- With risotto and steamed vegetables
- Hibachi-style with vegetables
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Have You Tried This Recipe?
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