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Sea scallops are quick and easy to cook, but you must take care to not overcook them, similar to shrimp and most other seafood. Moisture and cold temperatures are the enemies that prevents the scallops browning during searing, so they must be dried and at room temperature before searing.

The scallops you buy fresh should be plump and 'lively', with a nice aroma. Frozen sea scallops can work as well, but defrost them slowly overnight in the refrigerator.

Warm fresh and defrosted scallops to room temperature, squeeze to remove excess moisture and carefully dry them individually on paper towels before cooking.

Make sure you use a neutral tasting, high smoke point oil, such as grape seed or rice bran oil for the searing. This retains the gentle taste of the scallops. Sear them at very high temperature so the upper surfaces have a moderate brown color, but the insides remain creamy and tender.

Under-cook the insides slightly, because they will keep cooking while they are hot and being prepared for swerving.

Scallops go well with a wine sauce made in the same pan and other special homemade sauces with a mild taste.

They also go well with vegetable greens such as spinach, beet tops, broccoli as well as snow peas, green peas, asparagus and herbs and with dried black and white beans.

The delicate taste of these greens does not swamp that of the scallops and the greens provide color and texture contrast.

Seared Sea Scallops with Wine and Wilted Baby Spinach

Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
10 ounce bag (350g) baby spinach
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons of rice bran oil or grape seed oil
1 pound (500g) sea scallops, squeezed to remove moisture an patted dry on paper towels

Heat oil to moderate-hot in large heavy base frying pan. Add the scallop in small batches and cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes per side (the base should brown nicely). Set the cooked scallops aside and keep warm.

Add the shallots to the same pan and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping bits from the bottom. Then toss in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until wilted, stirring one. Sprinkle in the lemon juice and remove the pan from the stove. To serve add a quarter portion of the spinach to four plates and put the warm scallops on top.

Seared Sea Scallops with Wine and Herb Butter Sauce

For the scallops:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon rice bran or grape seed oil
1 lb (500g) large sea scallops, squeezed ans fried on paper towels

For the Wine and Herb Butter Sauce:
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (about one medium shallot)
1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped, such as coriander, basil, flat-leaf parsley or chives
4 lemon wedges (for serving)

Rinse the scallops and remove the adductor muscle (optional). Then pat them dry with paper towels. 

Heat a heavy base frying pan over medium to high heat for about 1-2 minutes. Then add the oil leave for 30 seconds until the oil id very hot. Add the scallop in batches of 1-3 uncrowded layer. Sear without disturbing, for 2-4 minutes until one side is nicely browned and crisp. Flip the scallops over and sear the other side (1-3 minutes). Set aside the scallops as you cook them on a plate in the oven. Remove the pan from the heat and add about 1/2 a tablespoon of butter. Then add the shallots and fry for 60 seconds. until the shallots start to soften. Add the wine and simmer gently to reduced the volume to about half (about 1-2 minutes). Add the lemon zest and herbs. Then lower the heat to low, add the rest of the butter, and whisk constantly to melt the butter. Add the scallops into the sauce in the pan and roll to cover the scallops with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and serve with lime or lemon wedges. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze over the scallops.

Seared Scallops with White Wine and Herbs Sauce

1/4 dry white wine
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon rice bran or grape seed oil
1/2 teaspoon of fried Italian herb seasoning
3 tablespoons cold butter, divided into 6-8 cubes
Juice of a small Fresh lemon (or half a large one)
12 medium-size sea scallops,rinsed and dried thoroughly

Dry the scallops and dust lightly with the Italian herb seasoning. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 sprig of rosemary to a preheated pan (medium-high temperature). When the rosemary starts to crackle remove and discard the rosemary. Then add the scallops, one or two at a time to the pan, and sear for two minutes on each side. keep the seared scallops arm while you prepare the sauce. 

Add the wine and shallots to the pan used to sear the scallops. As the wine comes to a boil, scrape any browned bits from the pan. Simmer to reduce the volume to about half or one quarter and then add the lemon juice. Gently swirl 2-3 butter cubes at a time into the sauce. Wait until the butter has melted and then add the next batch of 2-3 butter cubes. Add the basil and other herbs and spoon the finished sauce over the scallops served onto plates.

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce and Beans

1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup finely chopped onion
6oz (170g) fresh baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 pounds (750g) sea scallops 
1/4 cup good quality dry white wine 
2 tablespoons rice bran oil for frying
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 19-ounce (550g) can of cannellini beans or other similar white beans, drained

Sprinkle the scallops evenly with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy pan over medium to high heat. Add the scallops in batches of 1-3 and cook on each side for 2 minutes. Set aside the seared scallops and keep warm. 

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pan and fry the onions for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and pepper and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and stir to remove most of the liquid. Then add the beans and chicken broth cook and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until it just wilts. Add the basil and remove from the heat. Serve with the sauce and beans poured over the seared scallops.

Seared sea scallops is a delightful and delicate dish that goes well with spinach and herbs, and a delicate wine sauce
Seared sea scallops is a delightful and delicate dish that goes well with spinach and herbs, and a delicate wine sauce. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASeared_scallops.jpg
Wrapping scallops in bacon adds extra taste
Wrapping scallops in bacon adds extra taste. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABacon-wrapped_scallop.jpg
Simple seared sea scallops you can make at home. See how here and four fabulous recipes
Simple seared sea scallops you can make at home. See how here and four fabulous recipes. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASea_scallops_%C2%A9_RGI.jpg
The live scallop has over 100 eyes around the perimeter of its shells.
The live scallop has over 100 eyes around the perimeter of its shells. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3APlacopecten_magellanicus.jpg