For the scallops, you will need the desired number of big scallops, kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, and oil for searing. The first thing to keep in mind when pan-searing scallops is that everything happens very fast so have all ingredients prepared and tools at the ready. The second thing is understand the needs of the scallops.
They need to be dry. Whether you purchased them fresh or thawed them from frozen, pat them dry with paper towel before searing. If you patted them dry then went off and prepared other things before searing, pat them dry again. Right before you put them in the pan, season them with salt and pepper.
They need hot oil. Use an oil with a high enough smoke point (not olive oil). I used vegetable oil. A thin layer covering the entire bottom of the pan will do. Medium-high heat will do the job but be patient and let that oil get hot. Look for the oil to shimmer then right after that come the faintest wisps of smoke. That's your signal. Gently place the scallops in the pan.
They need their personal space. Even if you have to sear in two batches, keep space between the scallops. Crowding them will result in steaming them.
They need their privacy. Once they are in the pan, leave them alone. Don't walk away but don't shake the pan or pick them up every five seconds. Let them sear.
They need to get gone soon. About a minute later you will see the edges of the bottoms begin to brown. Using tongs, lift one a bit to see if the bottom is nice and golden brown and crispy. If so, turn over all of them. If not, set it back down and wait a few more seconds. Once all of them are flipped, give them about a minute on the second side, if that, then get them out of that pan. Set them aside and quickly make the reduction in the same pan.
- scant quarter cup of white wine
- heaping tablespoon shallot, finely diced
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp butter or your favorite substitute
Drizzle the reduction over the scallops and serve immediately. See, that was easy. And isn't it delicious? Now go teach all of your friends.