A few tips for selecting and preparing scallops:

  • Poor quality scallops are often treated with a saline solution; they'll look uniformly white and wet. These scallops will never sear properly, in part because they retain too much liquid. Look for a fishmonger offering "dry-packed" scallops. These haven't been treated, will vary in color from creamy to light orange, and won't be sitting in a pool of liquid.
  • Remove the small muscle from the side of the scallop if it's still attached.
  • Pat the scallops dry before cooking. They don't need to be rinsed, but drying will help them brown.
  • Make sure your pan is hot. Very hot. We like to use a cast-iron pan for searing.
  • Place the scallops in the pan on their flat sides, and don't touch them for a minute or two, depending on their size. Moving them will inhibit browning. Turn them once.
  • Cooked scallops feel springy when you squeeze their sides, like a steak cooked to medium. If the scallop feels firm, it's overcooked.

Try Seared Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce or other CL scallop recipes.