Where delicious sea scallops are concerned, it's crust or bust. Here's how Chef John puts the perfect sear on his sea scallops:
1. Choose Dry-Pack Scallops
If you can find them, choose dry-pack scallops (a.k.a., day-boat scallops) instead of wet-pack scallops. The key, though, is to dry them thoroughly. You don't want the scallops cooking in their juices; to get the beautiful brown, you want them searing in the oil.
2. Lightly Season Your Scallops
Season the scallops with sea salt and pepper. (Chef John likes a little cayenne pepper.)
3. Sear Them in Oil with a High Smoke Point
Fry them in a flavorless cooking oil with a high smoke point. Chef John is using grapeseed oil. Canola oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil are other options. But not olive oil, because it's a Smoky Joe. And the key here: use high heat. And don't add the scallops until the pan is super-hot.
4. Get the Crust
Depending on the size of your scallops, sear them for 2-to-4 minutes per side. (If they start cooking in their own juices, they were not dry. Drain the juice from the pan, pour in a little more oil and start again. No worries.)
5. Now Watch Chef John Nail the Perfect Sear
Get his recipe for Seared Scallops with Jalapeño Vinaigrette.
By the way, it's easy to make those gorgeous orange segments. Here, once again, Chef John shows how it's done.
Now try your searing technique on some 5-star scallop recipes:
- Seared Scallops with Jalapeño Vinaigrette
- Screaming Martini Scallops
- Seared Scallops with Corn Cream
- Coquilles Saint-Jacques
- Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
And once again, here's that searing technique in a nut, er, scallop shell:
[Image Credits: All images by Chef John]
Check out our collection of Scallop Recipes.
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