Bay scallops are the large scallops that usually very pricey in the seafood case of the grocery or fish market. Normally scallops are cooked for special occasions or just ordered in a upscale restaurant. They are cooked with a lovely brown crust on the top and bottom of the scallop which looks difficult to do.
The technique to do that is not complicated and all you need is a red hot skillet with a little bit of oil . The scallops need to be patted dry and seasoned. The seasoning can be as simple as salt and pepper or a season blend. When preparing the scallops to cook, there is a piece of flesh that is attached to the side that needs to be removed. This is where the scalloped was attached to the shell. It is too tough to eat. You just use your fingers to pull it off. It is sometimes call the beard. The scallops have to be thawed if they were frozen. When you purchase them frozen they come either wet or dry. The wet ones have been injected with a solution to plump them up and extend their freezer life. It takes longer for the wet ones to drain and can be difficult to sear. If you are buying them from a fish market always ask if they are dry because they are what you want for searing. To get a nice crust on the scallop it has to be dry. Too much moisture will keep it from sticking to the pan and browning. Just drain them on some paper towels and pat them dry with another paper towel. Place them again on a paper towel to see if a lot of moister collects again after 10 minutes. It is a sign that you need to give them more time to drain.
Have everything ready for the meal before you start to sear the scallops. It only takes a few minutes to cook them. Place the oil in a skillet that is large enough to cook the scallops. The scallops are cooked in a single circle around the sides of the pan. You don’t put any in the center of the pan. When the skillet is very hot and the oil is starting to smoke. You drop the first one at the 12 o’clock mark then put the next one at the 6 o’clock mark then do the 3 and 9 o’clock. Then fill in around going side to opposite side. The reason for this is to keep the pan very hot. Don’t touch the scallops for at least 2 minutes. You don’t want to peek too often. It takes 2 to 3 minutes on each side. You will know when they are ready to flip because they will release from the skillet when you nudge them. Do the same thing to the other side. You will know they are cooked through because they spring back when you touch them. They cook though quickly. Remove them from the skillet and place the butter and lemon juice in the skillet. Stir this to make a light sauce using the juices left behind from the scallop for about a minute. Pour the sauce over the scallops and serve.
Seared Bay Scallops
- bay scallops ( 4 each per/person)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pull the small piece of flesh from the side of the scallop, that attached it to the shell, with figures and discard. Drain on paper towel and pat dry each scallop. Season the top of the scallops.
Heat heavy bottomed skillet that is large enough to cook scallops in a circle around the side of the skillet on medium high heat with olive oil. When the skillet is very hot with smoking oil, drop the first one at the 12 o’clock mark then put the next one at the 6 o’clock mark then do the 3 and 9 o’clock. Then fill in around going side to opposite side. Don.t place any in the center of the pan. The reason for this is to keep the pan very hot. Don’t touch the scallops for at least 2 minutes. It takes 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Loosen and flip over to brown the other side. When done the scallop with spring back when touched. Remove from skillet.
Add butter and lemon juice to skillet to make a light sauce using the juices of the scallops that is in the skillet. Stir for about a minute. Pour sauce over scallops and serve.