This week, The Daily Meal was lucky enough to receive some fantastic frozen scallops from America's Farmstand, an online purveyor of fine produce, meats, seafood, and cheeses, so we came up with five original scallop recipes for you to try at home that are easy and delicious. Be sure to try this week's winning recipe from Ali Rosen, Thyme-Infused Butter Scallops.
Click here to see the 5 Sublime Scallop Recipes Slideshow
Scallops come in a few varieties, colors, and sizes, but the one that stands out in most people's minds is the sea scallop, perfectly seared with a golden brown crust and a juicy interior that's ever so slightly raw in the center. But for anyone who's tried to cook scallops for the first time at home and ended up with less than ideal results — a dried out, rubbery interior and no crust on the outside — trying again can seem like a frustrating (and not to mention, costly) exercise.
With the right technique, though, scallops are actually pretty easy to cook. Basically, it comes down to three things: fat, heat, and timing.
But first, prep. If you're not using fresh or dry-packed scallops, you'll want to give them a good rinse first, as they may have been soaked in a preservative that lends a soapy flavor. Then, pat them dry — otherwise, they'll steam instead of turning nice and golden brown when they hit the pan. Lastly, make sure to remove the tough muscle on the side of the scallop with a paring knife.
Fat. Choosing a fat with a high smoke point is important. This isn't the time to be cooking with extra-virgin olive oil (a questionable practice in general). Instead, use clarified butter, bacon fat, or in a pinch, canola or vegetable oil. Canola oil isn't a bad choice; it just won't impart any flavor to the scallops.
As for straight butter on its own, that can be tricky since the solids may burn, but if you're using it, just keep an eye on the heat and make sure to let the foam subside before adding the scallops to the pan; otherwise, the excess moisture will keep the scallops from searing properly and achieving that coveted crust. Another trick you can use is to cut the butter with a bit of canola oil, which will raise its smoke point.
Heat. Crank it up as high as it will go and make sure it stays that way. A heavy-bottomed pan works best for even heat distribution. Let the pan heat up before you add the fat (unless you are using straight butter) and let the fat heat up before you add the scallops, but don't let it smoke. Add the scallops without crowding them, and don't touch them!
Timing. It's worth repeating again — don't move them! Otherwise, you either won't get any crust at all, or the crust will break, giving it a blotchy appearance. Flip using a pair of tongs or a flexible, metal fish spatula when the white starts to creep up the sides of the scallops just slightly more than halfway; you only need to achieve a crust on the "presentation side," which is the side that will be facing up on the plate. At this point, just use residual heat to finish cooking the other side, so after you flip, take the pan off the heat and let the scallops continue cooking for a minute or two.
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Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.
Brown Butter Scallops
Yes, THIS is exactly what you need. Perfectly seared scallops with all the foamy butter, garlic and fresh thyme.
It is divine. It is quick. And it is easy. It takes 5 ingredients and just 30 minutes of your time from start to finish.
Serve with this IP mushroom risotto for a complete meal with all the crusty bread. And wine, of course.
- 1 poblano chile pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 serrano chile pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 pound small bay scallops
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- 4 tomatoes, diced, or more to taste
- 1 red onion, chopped
- ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
Set oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven's broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Place poblano and serrano chile peppers cut-side down on the lined baking sheet.
Roast under the preheated broiler until the skin of the peppers has blackened and blistered, 5 to 8 minutes. Place blackened peppers into a bowl and tightly seal with plastic wrap. Allow peppers to steam as they cool, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard skins. Finely chop the flesh.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add scallops cook for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to a glass or ceramic bowl.
Pour lime juice over the scallops. Stir in roasted peppers, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, salt, and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate ceviche until flavors combine and scallops are opaque, about 2 hours.
Spoon equal amounts of ceviche into 6 martini or margarita glasses to serve.
- 3 ears corn (about 2 1/2 lb. total), husked, silks removed
- 1 ¼ pounds sea scallops
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers (12 oz. total), rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Holding each ear of corn upright in a deep bowl, cut kernels from cobs. Rinse scallops and pat dry sprinkle lightly all over with salt and pepper.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in each of two 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pans over high heat. Add corn, bell peppers, garlic, and cumin to one pan add scallops to the other. Cook, stirring both pans often, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes, and scallops are browned on the outside and barely opaque in the center (cut to test), about 5 minutes.
Just before serving, stir basil into the vegetable mixture and cilantro into the scallops. Add salt and pepper to taste to both. Mound vegetables in a wide, shallow bowl top with scallops (and any pan juices).
- ⅓ cup no-salt-added ketchup
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups 1-inch-cubed fresh pineapple (about 1 pound)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 small jalapeño chile, seeded and sliced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 pound sea scallops
- 2 cups hot cooked brown rice
- 1 tablespoon Thinly sliced scallions
Whisk together the ketchup, orange juice, vinegar, cornstarch, soy sauce, and salt in a small bowl pour into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the pineapple, bell pepper, onion, and jalapeno to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW until the vegetables are mostly tender, about 4 hours. Add the scallops, and stir to combine cover and cook until the scallops reach the desired degree of doneness, about 8 minutes for medium. Divide the brown rice among 4 bowls. Serve the scallops and sauce over the brown rice garnish with the scallions, if desired.
Multicooker Directions: Whisk together the ketchup, orange juice, vinegar, cornstarch, soy sauce, and salt in the inner pot of a 6-quart multicooker. Add the pineapple, bell pepper, onion, and jalapeño to the pot. Lock the lid turn Pressure Valve to &ldquoVenting.&rdquo Cook on SLOW COOK [Normal] until the vegetables are mostly tender, about 4 hours. Turn off the cooker. Gently stir in the scallops. With the lid off, press SAUTÉ [Normal] cook uncovered until the scallops reach the desired degree of doneness. finish the recipe.
- 16 large dry-packed sea scallops* (about 1 in. wide about 1 lb. total)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 6 to 8 heads baby bok choy (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
- 5 green onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 piece fresh ginger (1 in.)
- About 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 4 very thin slices prosciutto (about 1 1/2 oz.)
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
Spread bok choy on a large platter top with scallops and shards of prosciutto.
*Dry-packed scallops are free of preservatives and brown better when you cook them.
Return pan to medium-high heat and add prosciutto in a single layer. Cook until crisp, in batches if needed, about 2 minutes, turning once. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate to cool.
Add enough oil to pan to make 1 tbsp. fat. Add green onions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to high and add bok choy cook, stirring frequently, until bok choy stems are tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Add soy sauce and chile flakes and cook until most of soy sauce is gone, no more than 1 minute.
This was Delicious. Easy to make, and I've never made scallops before. I'm also using this recipe for very special occasions. Or company.
Amazing. Made it with fresh rosemary and thyme—couldn’t believe how easy, fast, and SUPER tasty. Don’t overcook the scallops!
Delicious and EASY! My husband loved it (and so did I!)
Simple and delicious--I used thyme for the herbs and served with crusty bread to mop up the brown butter sauce. This recipe does hinge on the quality of the scallops.
Made this tonight, exactly as it read. Very good.
Yummy. Needs no change. I used sage.
I made this to accompany Lobster tails and it was amazing. I used Sage and thought it worked out perfect.
Really excellent. The lemon juice adds a nice burst of acidity. I might try a little white wine next time.
Excellent basic recipe. Lovely as is, easy to riff off of. Dry scallops and no crowding are key. Let quality ingredients shine.
I made these using thym, which is what I had on hand. It was easy and some kind of delicious. My husband loved it, we'll be eating this often!
Made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! I used sage , thyme and tarragon and the combination of herbs really was wonderful. Remember to allow the butter to really brown, that's how you get that nutty flavor. My only regret is not reading the reviews about how to dry the scallops. I didn't get a great sear and there was much too much liquid. The next time I will do more research on that!
This is the only way I will make scallops. Delicious, easy and did I say delicious? My friend who is a scallop fan said they were 5 thumbs up. Be sure to use good scallops, of course, but if you follow the directions they will turn out scrumptious!
I made these this recipe and thought it was just okay. I think the success of this recipe is in the scallops you buy. I did not get a 'sear' just a lot of liquid. The flavor was fine, not a lot of brown butter sauce though.
to "Cook From Chapel Hill" . Thank You! You Rock!
Just made these for dinner. Easy. Elegant. Delicious. I used thyme for the seasoning (next time I want to try sage just to see) and I even used non-dairy vegan butter and it still turned out delicious.
Excellent, simple recipe that allows the flavor of the scallops to come through. (Try using champagne to deglaze.) For those worrying about not drying the scallops properly, that adjective refers to the process of soaking scallops after catching them rather than patting them dry. Read more here: http://www.fishex.com/scallops/wet-vs-dry, or here: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-wet-dry-a-58059
Made this last Sunday, to the delight of Husband. He is a big scallop fan. Living in the Mojave Desert, one can't be picky about "dry" scallops--when there are good ones at the grocery, you buy them and dry them yourself at home on paper towels. I thought this recipe was reasonably good, but next time I think I'll add a little garlic when making the pan sauce at the end. The scallops were moist, tender, nicely crusted and very good--but not fall-down-dead delicious. Will make again because it is sooooo easy and reasonably good.
5 Scallops Recipes to Seduce Your Taste Buds
Scallops are a fantastic shellfish perfect for a light and elegant appetizer when you’re looking to impress. Pan-seared they are a simple and beautiful thing and with so many scallops recipes to choose from there is something for all. Golden and caramelised on the outside, soft and unctuous on the inside, they're easier to make than they look, don’t be put off by any past mistakes.
From start to finish, you can make scallops with an accompanying simple sauce in less than 15 minutes. Served up with some fresh bread, or a simple salad, and a bottle of chilled white wine you've got an almost-instant, completely elegant appetizer for a serious dinner party.
Pan-seared scallops don't need much to make them delicious, but a little sauce action can help elevate them into something even more special.
So many flavour combinations would work wonderfully with the sweet rich flavours of scallops and butter. We have just the five recipes to get you started on your scallop escapade from a robust scallops and lentil dish to a simple elegant scallop and fresh tomato sauce or even scallops with squash, perfect for fall. Have a look at our scallops recipes and see what tickles your taste buds tonight.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 16 sea scallops (about 1 pound), tough side muscle removed, patted dry
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with pepper and salt cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip scallops and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and garlic. Continue cooking, spooning the liquid over the scallops, until browned on the bottom and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.
- ⅓ cup lightly packed fresh mint
- ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons almonds, toasted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 6 sea scallops (8 to 10 ounces total)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh watercress or spinach
To prepare the pesto: In a food processor, combine mint, parsley, almonds, Parmesan cheese, the water, lemon juice, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Cover and process until nearly smooth. Set aside.
Rinse scallops and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add scallops cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until scallops are opaque, turning once halfway through cooking.