Impress Your Guests: How to Cook Scallops

We'll show you the best ways to cook scallops. With a simple sauté pan, you can prepare restaurant-quality scallops at home.

Few dishes are as quick and easy a way to impress a dinner guest than pan-seared scallops. They're super fast yet sweet and mild in flavor. So, they make a great blank canvas for anything from a prepared coconut curry sauce from a gourmet store to a simple squeeze of lemon. First, you'll need to prep your scallops. But they don't need much. Just rinse them, and pat them dry with paper towels. You wanna be sure to dry their surface thoroughly because moisture will interfere with browning them. Remove the inductor muscle, which is a thin strip on the side of the scallop where it attaches to the shell. It can be a little chewy. To give the scallops a nice, brown crust, toss the scallops in a little flour before cooking. For every pound of scallops, put two to three tablespoons of flour in a large zip-top plastic bag. If you like, add one to two teaspoons of spice to the flour, such as steak seasoning or cajun seasoning, or just keep it simple with a little salt and pepper. Mix them together. Then, add the scallops and shake the bag again to coat them. For searing the scallops, put about two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet and heat over medium high heat. Choose your largest heavy skillet. Stainless steel or cast iron are ideal as they'll cook the scallops evenly. When the oil is shimmering, add the scallops to the pan, keeping plenty of space between them. If the scallops are too crowded, they'll steam in their moisture and won't develop that nice brown crust. So, if your skillet isn't big enough to hold them all with enough space, cook them in batches, and use a neutral-flavored oil, like canola or soy bean. Butter and olive oil have great flavor. But at the high temperature used for searing, they tend to break down and smoke. Cook the scallops on to stir until the bottom side is brown, about three minutes. Turn them over and cook them for another two to three minutes until they're just opaque. That means they're cooked through. Don't overcook them because they'll get tough. If you like, add a prepared sauce to the skillet, and toss the scallops in it just until the sauce is heated through, or simply serve the seared scallops on their own with a squeeze of lemon.