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+ servings
seared scallops on white plate

How To Cook Scallops

Steven Pennington
Chef tips for cooking the perfect scallops. Technique to golden brown scallops.
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 4 mins
Scallops Coming To Room Temperature 30 mins
Total Time 39 mins
Course Seafood
Cuisine Classic French

Suggested Equipment

Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients
 

  • 12 scallops Large Sea Scallops (colossal scallops) dry-packed scallops brown better than wet packed
  • 4 tablespoon Clarified Butter Has higher smoker point, reduces the chance of burning
  • 4 tablespoon Olive Oil Mixing butter and olive helps improve the taste and smoke point level
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Sea Salt season to taste

Instructions
 

Prep the scallops

  • Inspect the scallop for a small muscle attached to the side called the abductor muscle. Suggested to remove it due to being chewy. It peels off very easily. Almost too easy to the point you could rip the scallop, so be careful
  • The recipe is for 4 people, each person getting 3 large scallops plated.
    Chef Tip: The reason for 3 each is first, cost control, and second professional plating is done using odds number plating. The brain looks for even numbers, so when serving odd numbers the brain interprets the plating as nicer, more visually appealing.

Cooking the scallops

  • Cooking the scallops:
    Pat scallops very dry.
    Season with salt and white pepper.
    Heat up a pan/skillet.
    Add high smoke point oil.
    Allow the oil to heat up, the oil ready once it starts moving, almost vibrating in the pan.
    Add room temperature scallops, large side down in pan/skillet,, the presentation side.
    Cook the scallops 70% of the way on the same side before turning/flipping.
    Once cooked, place on a paper towel to dry.
  • Use a large skillet (Do not crowd the pan with scallops or risk steaming them, which would result in no golden brown scallops. I like using cast iron due to the even distribution of heat. Really helps with the browning.
    Over medium-high heat. Do not use high heat or risk burning the scallops and oil.
    Add the Dry Scallops to the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Afterward, add in a few large dabs of butter. Using a large spoon, spoon the melted butter over the tops of the scallops. This will set in a very nice golden brown color.
    I like to turn off the heat at this point and flip/turn the scallops over and cook on the other side. The scallops will not take as long on side 2 to cook. You can always poke the scallops with your finger to check doneness.
  • How to tell the scallops are cooked: Cooked scallops are still soft in texture. The firmness will equal twice that of the raw uncooked scallop. The cook time on scallops is right about 4 to 5 minutes.

Notes

  • The scallops need to be very dry to turn golden brown.
  • Yes, you can use bay scallops, which are very small scallops that cook in about 60-70 seconds.
  • Can I eat the abductor muscle? Yes, the only difference is the texture. They taste just like the rest of the scallop.
  • Can you eat scallops raw? Yes, the style of recipe is called Crudo. Thinly sliced scallop plated in a sauce like Ponzu or vinaigrette. 
  • Can you reheat cooked scallops? Yes, it is safe to do so, but the texture will suffer. If you must reheat, do so by steaming.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How To Cook Scallops
Serving Size
 
3 scallops
Amount per Serving
Calories
320
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Cholesterol
 
11.4
mg
4
%
Sodium
 
274
mg
12
%
Potassium
 
7
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
1
g
0
%
Fiber
 
1.7
g
7
%
Sugar
 
0.74
g
1
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
32.1
IU
1
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
1.2
mg
0
%
Iron
 
1.6
mg
9
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Gold Brown Scallops, How To Cook Scallops, Seared Scallops Technique
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