Recipe: Seared Scallops {Alton Brown}

by Cate on July 23, 2013

UntitledThere are some things that I just don’t cook or bake, for a variety of reasons.

I generally don’t make cut-out cookies. Just.too.fiddly. Sometimes, but usually never.

Which does not really explain why I have cookie cutters.

I don’t make homemade crust (Pillsbury does a fine job of that). And I don’t own a rolling pin.

And I generally don’t make scallops.

I think I can probably count on one hand how many times I have made scallops over the last 23 years.

And might still have a finger leftover.

I love scallops, don’t get me wrong. But I think I’ve just had enough overdone scallops while dining out, that the prospect of making perfectly cooked and tender scallops just scares me. And I tend to like recipes that are a bit more forgiving. Because with the kids and the zoo running through the kitchen while I’m cooking, well, there ain’t a lot of concentration going on.

And they’re too expensive to ruin. Within minutes.

But last week, I was standing in front of the seafood counter buying crab, and all the sudden I saw them.

Big, plump, white scallops.

And I caved.

And then I was home, with scallops, and no recipe.

Folks, Google is your friend.

One of the first recipes that popped up was Alton Brown’s for Seared Scallops. A quick scan of the (basic) ingredients showed I had everything else that was needed, and it only took minutes to make.

I psyched myself up, gave the kids their dinner (they wanted no part of scallops), and got to work.

I followed the directions.


Didn’t multitask.

At all.

And ended up reaping the rewards.

They were done within minutes, and the perfect lean and green meal served alongside heaps of roasted broccoli. A slightly crisp outer edge, a tiny taste of salt and black pepper, and all ’round tenderness once you took a bite.

Armed with this recipe, I will never shy away from making scallops at home again.

Hungry for more scallop recipes?
This was an OMG recipe that is definitely worth making, inspired by Julia Child.
This version is light and healthy and sits atop a bed of couscous.
This Scallop Casserole is one dish that my Dad loves, and for many years, it was served on Christmas Eve, as part of our Feast of Seven Fishes.

Tomorrow? A review on a new frozen yogurt place.

Seared Scallops
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown via Food Network


1 to 1 1/4 pounds dry sea scallops, approximately 16
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.

Add the butter and oil to a 12 to 14-inch saute pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Serve immediately.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne July 24, 2013 at 6:39 am

I don’t do cut out cookies either. And ditto on the cookie cutters. I keep thinking…someday… :)

Your scallops look perfect!!
Joanne recently posted..Peanut Butter Cup Ripple Ice Cream {#frozentreatweek GIVEAWAY}


patsy July 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I had the same fear of ruining scallops and wouldn’t buy them… then, my husband decided a couple of weeks ago that we should just give it a shot and try to make them at home… and we have treated ourselves a couple more times since! They don’t need much added to them… simple is the way to go!
patsy recently posted..Grilled Clams with Garlic Butter


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