This Is The Best Way To Sear Sea Scallops

A perfectly cooked sea scallop is a thing of beauty — a slight crust on the outside and a tender, buttery interior when you cut into it. All you need is the right technique in order to plate up a masterpiece. However, when it comes to searing scallops, there are a few important things to consider. Before you even let your scallops touch the pan, they need to be dried off. As with anything you're trying to get a good sear on, too much moisture means your item will simply steam rather than sear, which isn't what you want.

Then, when it comes to the actual cooking process, there are two key factors that will ensure you get delectable seared scallops — your choice of oil, and your heat level. The secret to getting that perfect sear on your scallops is to have a pan that is piping hot. Even though you may be impatient to plate up the tasty morsels, don't be tempted to add your scallops to the pan while it's still heating up — you want it very hot. In order to achieve the level of heat you need, use a flavorless cooking oil with a very high smoke point. Some ideal options include canola oil, peanut oil, and grapeseed oil.

How to season scallops and what to serve them with

While buttery scallops can be an absolute treat, you don't want to use butter in order to actually sear the scallops. The smoke point of butter is simply too low, and the milk solids can end up burning your dish. If you want those decadent, buttery flavor notes, incorporate it in a sauce rather than as your primary cooking fat. When it comes to seasoning scallops, simplicity is key. They have a lovely, delicate flavor all on their own, so all you really need is a sprinkle of salt and pepper to bring out the best in this ingredient. However, as with any meal, you're free to make it your own and reach into your spice drawer for whatever combination you think would work.

When it comes to pairing scallops with other elements for your entree, such as a fresh salad filled with seasonal produce or a plate of pasta, the one thing you want to be mindful of is just how quickly scallops cook. While the cook time can vary slightly depending on whether you purchased scallops on the larger or smaller end of the spectrum, sea scallops typically take just a few minutes to cook. Thus, you'll want to ensure all the other elements of your dish are prepared before your scallops even hit the pan, so you can serve them when they're freshly seared.