A quick guide to cooking pan-seared scallops, what to serve with scallops and a simple and easy recipe for cooking them at home.
HOW (AND HOW LONG) TO COOK SCALLOPS:
Pan-seared scallops may seem intimidating, but in truth, it is a very simple dish to master at home.
First, let’s talk about the sear: To get a good sear on any piece of protein, medium-high to high heat is a necessity. Because of this, you will need to use an oil with a fairly high smoke point to allow the scallops to brown, rather than burn.
Canola oil and vegetable oil both have a high smoke point, however, scallops are delicate in flavor, so I would advise going with the flavorless oil option, which is Canola. Also, when cooking scallops, it is best to use a nonstick sauté pan, for obvious reasons.
A perfectly seared scallop should take no longer than 5 minutes to cook on the stove top, 2 – 2 1/2 minutes per side over medium-high heat is all you need for a perfectly cooked scallop.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH SCALLOPS:
Scallops are a mild and lightly flavored seafood option. They’re slightly sweet, and if cooked right, the texture is smooth like butter. They pair well alongside sautéed or steamed vegetables such as baby broccoli, asparagus, spinach or even fresh green beans.
If you’d like a starch to pair alongside your scallops, rice makes for an excellent choice, and you’ll often find scallops served atop a bed of creamy risotto. Not into laborious rice procedures? That’s cool. A little Basmati rice with a few chopped green onions, and possibly even a touch of minced dill, will do just fine. And, if you’re looking for a starter to serve prior to your scallops, gazpachos, bisques, and soups typically make for a wonderful introduction to seafood dishes.
- 3/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1 small orange
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 pound extra jumbo scallops rinsed and patted dry
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons Canola oil, separated
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Begin the sauce by placing Balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer 5-7 minutes, or just until reduce by half.
Transfer 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of the Balsamic reduction to a small bowl, and reserve any of the remaining Balsamic reduction for another use. Add freshly squeezed orange juice to the bowl, as well as a scant pinch of Kosher salt and a pinch of black pepper. Whisk to combine, and set aside until ready to use.
For the scallops, add scallops to a mixing bowl, along with 1 teaspoon Canola oil and Kosher salt. Mix together until scallops are evenly coated with both oil and salt. Set aside until ready to use.
Add 2 tablespoons of Canola oil to a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and allow to come to temperature. Add butter, and as soon as it has melted, place the scallops in the pan, spacing them apart so that no scallop is touching another. Do not overcrowd the pan, and sear in batches if necessary. Allow the scallops to cook for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes on each side, without jostling them or moving around in the pan. Transfer scallops to a plate, drizzle with Balsamic-orange sauce, serve and enjoy.
Pair “Seared Scallops with a Balsamic-Orange Sauce” with other TAK recipes: