When cooking, there’s not much worse than mistreating an expensive ingredient. So when I’m planning a meal and wanting to showcase something special, I learn about the proper technique from Chef Cason at work. His credentials are impressive and well-earned through hard work and study, he has excelled in his career at every restaurant and can execute masterfully. One day, I asked him how to cook scallops and, luckily for me, he happened to have cooked thousands of scallops while working under Chef Takashi. No big deal, but this is knowledge passed downed from a Michelin-starred chef. Wait, that’s a very big deal, just know that this is not my opinion or something, this is how a Top Chef Master has his scallops seared in his restaurants.
- Scallops are beautiful with minimal influence, so treat them as such.
- Pat scallops completely dry to reduce potential oil splatter and/or steaming effect
- Season liberally w/salt and pepper on both sides
- Heat pan on medium high heat.
- Add olive oil and keep just below smoke point, so the oil shimmers when you tilt the pan. The key is to have the oil/pan very hot to get a perfect sear.
- Place scallops in pan, without overcrowding or touching, presentation side down first.
- Do not move the scallops, sear on one side for 5 minutes for an average-sized scallop.
- Flip, keep on heat for 1 minute, then remove the scallop from the pan and serve. Scallops should have a beautiful hard sear on the presentation side and should be cooked minimally on the 2nd side to prevent overcooking. Scallops should be translucent in the center, a perfect medium rare, medium at most.