Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 8 scallops; sauté 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Set aside, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 8 scallops. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel.
Add butter to pan; reduce heat, and cook until butter melts. Stir in parsley and garlic, and cook 15 seconds. Return scallops to pan; toss to coat.
The secret to perfectly browned scallops is patience. Peterson recommends cooking in two batches. Heat the oil until it ripples in the pan. Add scallops, a few at a time, and wait for them to sizzle before adding more. If you add too many at once, the pan will lose heat and its ability to brown them all.
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