Photo: Oxmoor House 
Hands-on Time
25 Mins
Total Time
25 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: 3 ounces scallops and 2/3 cup corn hash)

A properly browned scallop is one of the wonders of cookery, because getting it perfect isn't easy. First, scallops are crazy-wet, and moisture fights against browning. You can get a pocket of water trapped between the pan surface and the scallop, thus inhibiting the temperature rise needed for browning. Secondly, butter, while delicious, adds a higher degree of difficulty than vegetable oils, as its solids are prone to burning and its smoke point is fairly low. Master this and you'll be able to sear anything well.

How to Make It

Step 1

Make the Pan-Fried Sweet Corn Hash, and keep it warm while you sear the scallops.

Step 2


Step 3

Dry the well-chilled sea scallops with paper towels. Get them really dry. And well-chilled should be about 34°--the temp in your fridge.

Step 4

Brush the scallops evenly with the butter on all sides. The butter should solidify on the sides of the scallops if they are properly chilled and dried.

Step 5

Heat a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Step 6

Spray the pan evenly, but lightly, with cooking spray.

Step 7

Raise the heat to medium-high.

Step 8


Step 9

Slide half the scallops into the pan, one by one. If the pan has been heated properly, the scallops will slide like an air-hockey puck in an arcade. Just like that.

Step 10

Try sliding the scallops around in the pan. Cool, right? Gently press the scallops against the hot pan surface to "pop" out any water/steam pockets.

Step 11

Season with 1/16 teaspoon salt and 1/16 teaspoon pepper. Use your fingers.

Step 12


Step 13

Now, let the scallops sear. The edges will brown. Doneness is a matter of taste, for sure, but 2 minutes and a flip, followed by 1 minute on the non-presentation side should be great.

Step 14

Season the other side of the scallops.

Step 15

Using a fish spatula or tongs (but be gentle with tongs), transfer the scallops to a plate.

Step 16

Repeat the procedure to sear the remaining scallops.

Step 17

Divide the scallops among 4 plates. Top each serving evenly with the Pan-Fried Sweet Corn Hash. Don't be too fussy.

Cooking Light Mad Delicious

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