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Pan Seared Sea Scallops Made Easy

I was once afraid to purchase scallops for fear of completely ruining them and thus tossing many dollars into the compost.  No longer do I fear this fate – as I learned that a hot pan and a clock's minute hand are my friends.

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Its high summer and there is no time for heavy or slow food at this time of year.  On a semi-sunny day after weeding the carrots, and a little yoga/stairclimber workout it was time for some fresh garden kale, zucchini and fresh hand plucked giant scallops from the market.

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The easiest way to prepare a scallop is a quick pan sear or a firey grill.  If you like the flavor of these lovely mollusks a simple salt and pepper is enough seasoning to take you where you need to go.

To pan sear the next step is to put a wee bit of high flash point oil in a pan and pre-heat it to a nice over-medium heat.   In other words, make you pan nice and hot before you place the scallop on it.

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Place your seasoned scallops in the pan once it is nice and hot and cook for no more than 2 minutes per side.  The key is to watch the scallop change from a clear white to a full opaque white as it cooks.  You should let the opaque white grow to about 1/2 inch on each side – but no more or else you will overcook the scallop and be left with a rubbery blob instead of a tender seafood morsel. 

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Scallops are the only migratory bi-valve – which is why they have such a developed muscle in comparison to their cousin oyster and clam – in other words they move around.  They also have 100 little eyes and a shell that is the archtype of all seashells – images of which are found in the Louvre with Aphrodite or as nearby as a your megalithe oil company – Shell Oil. 

As I am not an underwater photographer I cannot post a picture of what a scallop looks like in its natural habitat (which is in every ocean of the world) – but I note that it is best to look for scallops to eat that are not harvested by dredging – rather look for those from aquaculture or wild caught by divers.  Dredge gathered scallops are listed as a worst choice for sustainable seafood. 

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As my kale farm is in full bloom and the squash about to bumper crop – I indulged in scallops to highlight my completely local and organic meal – and was promised by my fishmonger that they were not dredged from the shores of Japan. 

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So go forth, find diver plucked scallops and pan sear to your heart's content!  

If you choose to grill (which is another fabulous option) follow the same premise as pan searing.  Cook no more than two minutes per side and watch the opaque white grow – never let it go all the way through the scallop to keep it from getting overcooked and rubbery.

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