Pan Seared Scallops Recipe – Alton Brown Style. If you thought you could only get delicious sea scallops like this in a fancy expensive restaurant, we’ve got great news for you. Enjoy these succulent scallops at home today and you’ll be surprised at how affordable this meal is to make!
Pan Seared Scallops Recipe
We make a lot of healthy seafood recipes here on Platter Talk and sea scallops are one of my favorite gifts from the culinary world. Although it’s hard for me to say which seafood I love most.
As my mom was known to comment on her six kids, “I love them all, equally.” I have to say the same when it come to food from the sea. With that in mind, this evening I decided to tackle sea scallop and did a darn good job I would say, thanks in large part to the legendary Alton Brown and his pan seared scallops recipe.
To be clear, living in the landlocked portion of the United States known as Wisconsin has presented challenges when it comes to finding fresh seafood. It’s an oxymoron. Sure, we have an abundance of wonderful-to-eat fresh water fish such as perch, bass, and walleye from some of our bordering great lakes and even the rivers that flow through our state.
Seafood such as tuna, grouper, shrimp, lobster, – well they are an entirely different story. And sea scallops. We see sea scallops in the seafood cases of all the major grocery stores throughout the U.S. and these scallops appear ever so plump and juicy, just begging to be taken home and enjoyed.
The very sad part of this scenario lies in the fact that many times their plumpness and juiciness lies not in their own natural goodness, but rather in the taste sucking evils of a preservative that goes by the name of sodium triphosphate (STP).
Besides being used as a preservative for much of the seafood we see in our grocer cases, it’s also a primary component of detergents. Nice eh? Not.
Try our Healthy Haddock Recipe!
GINGER-SOY GLAZED HADDOCK
The moral of this story: Look for sea scallops that are not preserved in STP.
Sea Scallops at their very best
Instead, look for dry-packed scallops. Dry-packed scallops are sea scallops that are shucked, packed up and shipped on ice without chemical additives. They taste better than wet-packed scallops, which are soaked in water and STP, meaning the scallop becomes bloated with water and food additives, resulting in a duller flavor. Scallops with too much moisture are also less successful in the pan, since excess water seeps out, preventing a flavorful crust from forming on the outside of the scallop as it cooks.
Dry-packed scallops may also have a stickier texture and a slightly more pronounced smell, which is nothing to worry about. They cost more, but have a naturally sweeter taste.
When pertaining to food and cooking, searing is just a cooking technique that browns food quickly at a high temperature to help it retain its juices in subsequent cooking. A good sear also give some nice texture and pleasing but gently crunch with every bite. Most foods an be seared such as steaks, seafood, vegetables and more. Here is another of our seared recipes, Cayenne Seared Pork Chops with Orange-Glazed Carrots.
How to Cook Scallops
The first thing to do when getting ready top sear your scallops is to pat them dry with a paper towel. This will remove excess moisture and is a critical step in attaining a good sear.
Next, for this scallops recipe, season the scallops with some salt and pepper.
Once the scallops are dried and seasoned, it’s time to get the skillet out. Butter and oil are used in combination because oil can be heated at a higher temperature without smoking, which can cause changes in chemical structure and be bad for your health. Read about different cooking fats and their smoke points to learn more.
Once your butter and oil are hot, place the scallops in the hot skillet and let sit for about 2 minutes. It’s important not to play with them by moving them around, you want to allow a nice crisp sear to form. About this time in the cooking process, these seared sea scallops are going to really start smelling good! Flip the scallops and repeat the searing process for the other side.
We are fortunate to have a grocer who stocks dry pack-packed scallops and just as lucky to have a resource such as Alton Brown, whose recipe for seared scallops lists a prep time of five minutes and a cook time of three minutes. Can it get any simpler? Can it be any tastier? With dry-packed sea scallops, the answer to both questions is absolutely not. I hope you will give this pan seared scallops recipe a try.
Platter Talk’s Suggested Wine Pairing for this Pan Seared Scallops Recipe:
Pinot Grigio. Refreshing and citrusy, the flavor of this light tasting white wine will not over-power the tastes of these delicious sea scallops.
Here are a few articles you may find helpful, when making pan seared scallops or any other seafood:
Pan Seared Scallops Recipe
- 1 to 1 1/4 pounds dry pack sea scallops approximately 16
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.
- Add the butter and oil to a 12 to 14-inch saute pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 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. Serve immediately.
Warm serving plates in the oven to preserve and maintain the heat of the entrée.
Updated from original post of October 3, 2014