Sprinkle your scallops generously with salt and black pepper or the seasoning of your choice. Feel free to soak in your spice closet and try some cumin, garam masala or smoked paprika, or go with lemon zest, lime zest or parmesan. Remember, you can also add more flavor later, after cooking, so going simple here is fine.
2. Seal the
scallops Choose a cast iron skillet or a nonstick skillet
if you don’t have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet; beginners should probably avoid using a stainless steel skillet, as it can cause your scallops to stick and tear. Make sure your pan is large enough to fit in the number of scallops you’re cooking; You need to make sure you can put them all in the pan in a single layer with plenty of space between each one.
Before putting the scallops, shake some olive oil in the pan and heat over medium-high heat until it is very hot and bright. Then, using tweezers, gently place your seasoned scallops in the pan and DO NOT TOUCH THEM until they are deeply browned on one side, about three minutes for an average-sized scallop.
the buttered and aromatic scallops
Flip your scallops carefully and add a few small pieces of cold butter to the pan (a little more than you think you should, you won’t regret it) along with an aromatic of choice. You can use a dried chili or a sprig of fresh herbs or some capers or a slice of citrus. Again, here’s the fun part of not following an exact recipe: you can choose the ingredient you think would best complement your seasoning.
Use a large spoon to bathe the scallops with the butter continuously while they finish cooking, another minute or two. Be careful not to overcook your scallops – if your scallops are small, they may not take that long to cook. You may want to cut a sacrificial scallop in half to check: meat near the top and bottom edges should look dull, but there should still be a slightly translucent strip in the middle when removing the scallops from the heat.
4. Make a pan sauce
Take the scallops out of the pan and place them on your serving plate. Then add a splash of liquid to the butter in the pan – you can use lemon juice, white wine, chicken or vegetable broth, dried vermouth, orange juice, etc., depending on the flavor you think would work best with your seasoning and smoothing ingredients. Stir the sauce well over medium heat, then remove from heat and remove the aromatics. Add a little more cold butter to finish and some fresh herbs if desired. (Basil and cilantro are nice!)
Pour the sauce around the scallops on your plate and you will have a plate of buttery scallop ready to serve. And best of all, you can say that it is your own creation, I won’t care.