Each time I make scallops, I get nervous. By this point, you’d think I was a pro, but really, that isn’t the case. The funny thing about scallops is that they hold a lot of water. If you don’t prepare them correctly, you’ll get a wonderful sear on one side while you won’t get anything on the other. The issue with this is that the water content tends to release itself when the scallops are flipped. Below, I’ll explain the proper method for cooking scallops so you get that sweet caramelization on both sides. If you learn this method, you won’t get nervous like I still do.
Also, in this post, I’ll share a nice dressing the goes along perfectly with the scallops. This is a very simple recipe, so I think you’ll enjoy it.
Pan seared scallops are the best. I already mentioned that I’ll be discussing a great cooking method for them above, so I won’t go over that again. What I would like to discuss though is how healthy scallops are. I read somewhere that there’s a huge demand for protein when it comes to the American food supply. The consumer is all about it these days. With this in mind, I’m here to tell you that scallops consist of 80% protein. Three ounces of scallops provide 20 grams of protein at only 95 calories. They supply magnesium and potassium, along with vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and zinc. They’re really good for you. The only problem is that they’re expensive, so if you do decide to purchase some, be sure you make the dinner worth it.
The dressing that goes along with this dish is very nice. Best of all, it’s easy to make. It includes olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, sweet onion and cilantro. We’ve grown a ton of cilantro in our garden this year, so it was a nice surprise to see that this recipe called for it. If you’d like to see some of the vegetables we have growing in it, you can check them out on my other blog. You can also take a look at some of the beets I pulled out of the ground just yesterday.
1 1/2 Pounds Large Sea Scallops
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Sweet Onion, Minced
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Minced
Ground Black Pepper
As Laura and I were eating dinner last night, I had a realization. I discovered that I was eating almost an entirely Mediterranean diet. We were taking advantage of some leftover orzo salad I prepared and shared on this blog yesterday, while immensely enjoying the scallops I just made on the stove top. It was perfect.
I’d like to thank America’s Test Kitchen for showing me the way. If it weren’t for their incredible resource titled The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, I would have gotten not nearly as far, so thank you.
Prepare the Vinaigrette
In a medium size bowl, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the orange juice, lemon juice, sweet onion, cilantro, a pinch of pepper and a pinch of salt.
Whisk these ingredients well and set aside.
Prep the Scallops
Okay, there are two really important things you want to consider when pan searing scallops. The first is that you’ll need to reduce the moisture content of the scallops and the second is that you’ll need the scallops to be at room temperature before adding them to your pan.
To reduce moisture content, pour the scallops from their container into a colander in your sink.
Jiggle the colander around a bit so the excess liquid can easy drain from the colander. After that, let everything sit for about 15 minutes. This will not only allow the scallops to further drain, but it will help bring them to room temperature.
Finally, to dry the scallops, place a few paper towels out either on your counter top or on a large baking sheet. Place the scallops on the paper towels and then cover them with more towels. Press lightly on the top towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. After that, you’re ready to cook.
Cook the Scallops
Warm a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is to temperature, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and place the scallops inside of it. Let the scallops cook for 1 1/2 minutes on the first side or until you see a golden brown sear forming. At that point, flip the scallops over and do the same for the other side. If you were able to remove enough moisture, the cooking process should be even and simple.
Plate & Serve
When finished, remove the scallops from the pan and place them on a platter. Also, scoop some dressing out of the bowl it’s in and fill a small bowl to place on the platter as well. Serve with a spoon at the center of the table and enjoy.
The Final Seared Sea Scallops and Dressing
Once you get the hang of cooking scallops, I have a feeling that you’ll be picking them up all the time. They’re highly addictive. If you’re like me, you’ll look for sales. You’ll even try to talk the seafood people into reducing their prices. Give it a shot because it works often. Thanks for reading!