Top | Margarett Waterbury
(recipe, Margarett Waterbury)
Scallops are an exercise in self-control in more ways than one. You could also call them "What’s for Dinner When You are Pressed for Time but Not for Money."
- 6 dry-pack scallops, size U-12 or U-15
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp. canola or coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 lemon wedge (optional)
- Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, then season them with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Place a well-seasoned skillet (stainless steel or nonstick) over high heat. Add the oil and butter; it may seem like a lot, but you don’t end up consuming it all, and it’s critical to avoid sticking.
- When the butter is beginning to brown and the pan feels blazingly hot when you place your hand a few inches above it, slip in the scallops.
- Set a timer for 2 minutes. Don’t touch, move, or fuss with the scallops at all for those 2 minutes. (I find this so challenging that I have to actually walk away or do something else while that Maillard reaction runs its course.)
- When the timer goes off, the tops of the scallops should still be raw and cold, while the bottom side should have a perfect, sweetly caramelized sear. Flip the scallops, situating the uncooked sides, if possible, on new areas of the pan.
- Cook the scallops for exactly 1 more minute, then quickly remove them from the heat and serve, seared side up, with the lemon, perhaps on a bed of lightly dressed greens, angel-hair pasta, or other suitable foil that won’t detract from their delectability.