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How To Put The Perfect Sear On Sea Scallops (Beautiful Crust Or Bust)

Where delicious sea scallops are concerned, it's crust or bust. Here's how Chef John puts the perfect sear on his sea scallops:

 

Seared Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Seared Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette | Photo by Kim's Cooking Now

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.

 

Dry Scallops on Plate

Photo by Chef John

2. Lightly Season Your Scallops

Season the scallops with sea salt and pepper. (Chef John likes a little cayenne pepper.)

 

Dry Scallops Seasoned with Salt and Cayenne

Photo by Chef John

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.

 

Scallops Searing Over High Heat

Photo by Chef John

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.)

 

Get the Crust

Photo by Chef John

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:

And once again, here's that searing technique in a nut, er, scallop shell:

 

PerfectSearedScallops_600x2100

Perfectly seared scallops.

[Image Credits: All images by Chef John]


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Carl Hanson

About Carl Hanson

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