With a seared exterior and soft, tender interior, scallops have a mild flavor that complement a rich, buttery wine sauce.
There are a few insider tricks to ensuring that scallops come out crispy on the outside yet tender on the inside. First, preheat the skillet, so it is nice and hot before adding the scallops. This speeds up the cooking time to create a sear rather than simply steaming the scallops.
Second, be sure to add salt and pepper the scallops only just before throwing them in the pan. Salt draws out the moisture, but the scallops will steam if salted and left out for too long. And last — but not least — as soon as the scallops hit the pan, do not touch them or move them around with tongs. When you're finished cooking the scallops, don't overlook the fond (crispy pieces stuck to the bottom of the pan).
That's concentrated flavor right there, so don't throw it all away! Instead, I recommend deglazing the pan with wine to make a speedy sauce. In addition to boosting the flavor of sauces, deglazing a pan also reduces cleaning time. So stop furiously scrubbing your pans at the end of the night, and start deglazing!
This particular scallop recipe goes with just about any starch. Stir in whatever leftover herbs you have, spoon over extra sauce, and let the starch soak up the gloriously buttery, herby flavors.
5-6 large scallops
1/3 cup white wine
1 tablespoon minced white onion
3 tablespoons chilled butter
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh green onion
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place a skillet over medium-high heat until thoroughly heated. Coat scallops with cooking spray, and then salt and pepper right before placing on skillet. Carefully place scallops in hot skillet. Sear 3-5 minutes or until browned, flip sides, and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove scallops from pan, and keep them warm in an oven at 150-175ºF.
In same pan, add wine to deglaze the pan, or use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the pan. Add onion, and bring wine to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until liquid reduces to 2 tablespoons. Over low heat, whisk in butter cubes, 1 tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in parsley and green onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve scallops with sauce.