Pan Seared Scallops on Parmesan Polenta
I watch Chef Gordon Ramsay on TV …a lot. One thing I always say about his show is “Why do the contestants NOT learn how to sear a scallop before heading out to the studios??! Ack!” Seriously, it’s not like it’s a surprise that you’ve entered the contest! But I digress…
Cooking scallops does require some finesse, but with some practice, it’s pretty easy to pull off the perfectly seared scallop. They should not be rubbery or bland; the perfectly seared scallop has golden brown edges and is sweet, slightly briny, tender and delicious!
To do this, I heat a skillet with some extra virgin olive oil and get the pan good and hot. I place only a few scallops at a time into the pan so as to not over crowd or it will reduce the pan temperature and boil the scallops instead of searing them. Starting with a pan that is too cold will also result in scallops that are not seared. Most often they will be cooked but rubbery and white with no caramelization.
Once I mastered this technique, I had the confidence to cook scallops for dinner parties. These are so simple and quick to make but are extremely impressive to your dinner guests. Try these as an appetizer at your next dinner party! I serve mine over a creamy polenta but you might also serve these on a bed of spinach or micro-greens. Enjoy!
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 6 large scallops or 10 to 12 small scallops, cleaned and patted dry of any water
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Polenta, prepared per the package instructions
- Lay the scallops out and pat dry with paper towels. Season one side with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat until smoking hot, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add the scallops clockwise, one by one, seasoned side down, then sear for 1– 2 minutes until golden brown. Season the unseasoned side of the scallops, then flip them over in the same order you placed them in the pan and repeat the process. Squeeze the lemon juice over the scallops while they are still in the pan.
- When the scallops are cooked, remove the contents of the pan onto a plate lined with paper towels. This stops the cooking process, and the paper towels absorb the excess oil.