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  • Writer's pictureSophie Bobrek

Lightly seared dry sea scallops

Sea scallops, especially dry ones (aka not treated with phosphates), are in a league of their own when it comes to seafood. That's why I prefer to treat them incredibly gently. To each their own; a harder, browner sear on each side of the scallop could be acheived easily with this same method by just cranking the heat up by one or two notches. But when I get my hands on such beautiful scallops that could easily be eaten raw, I prefer a light touch.

Method (for 1 lb of raw dry sea scallops)

  1. Gently dry the scallops with a paper towel. Less moisture on the surface guarantees a cleaner sear. Carefully remove the muscular tendon off the side of each scallop if necessary.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the scallops with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, and season very lightly. I used 1 tsp of Old Bay Garlic & Herb, but simply using salt and pepper alone would work beautifully. Gently toss with your hands until well combined.

  3. In a large cast iron or stainless steel pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter on medium heat. Once melted, place scallops gently into the pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (I cooked 1 lb in 3 batches). Cook scallops for 1.5 minutes on each side, or until the desired amount of color is achieved. Be mindful not to overcook; it is normal for a cooked scallop to maintain some translucency in the center once done.

The best advice I can give for executing this technique is to not be afraid of low heat and short cooking times. It may seem minimal, but it will ensure that your scallops stay tender, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth.

I garnished the scallops with a delicate amount of lemon zest and dill, and served over garlicky spinach.

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