How to Perfectly Pan Sear Scallops

Do you want to make Pan Seared Scallops with a golden-brown, crispy outside crust with no burnt flavors, just as you expect at a high-end restaurant? They’re easy to make at home and less expensive than eating out. So, What kind of pan is best for searing scallops?

Do not use nonstick pans because you typically can’t get the pan hot enough between 450- 500 °F required to sear scallops without damaging the nonstick coating.

Scallops come either wet or dry; buy the dry ones. Wet sea scallops have been treated with a chemical solution to preserve them, giving off-taste. If you aren’t sure if the scallops are wet or dry, ask your local supermarket fishmonger; read the package label if frozen. Always wipe your sea scallops dry with a paper towel because moisture prevents them from browning.

My favorite pan-to-sear scallops are a fully seasoned Lodge Cast Iron Skillet or Mauviel M’steel Carbon Steel Skillet at Amazon. Great for cooking at higher heat with oils to develop foods with full, rich flavor, color, and crisp texture. Also, Lodge sells an Essential Cast-Iron Pan Set, 7-Piece, and Black. 

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How to Make Gordon Ramsay Pan Sear Scallops

Step 1. Rinse scallops with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.

Step 2. Place the pan on the stovetop on high heat, then add the butter and avocado oil. Salt and pepper the scallops. Heat for 2 minutes (ensure the oil is hot); carefully add the scallops; they should not touch each other.

Step 3. Pan Sear Scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side until brown. Making sure the scallops develop a 1/4-inch golden crust on both sides while still being translucent in the center not to overcook.

Step 4. Serve scallops immediately once cooking is complete or hold in the pan for final assemble to plate

What Kind of Pan is Best for Searing Scallops?

Seasoned cast‑iron or carbon steel pans are the best for searing scallops because they retain heat and preheat evenly. As you place your scallops into the skillet, you want to leave ample space between them; don’t crowd the pan, so they don’t steam each other simultaneously.

What is the Best Oil to Cook Scallops?

For pan-searing scallops, the best oil to use is one with a high smoke point that can reach temperatures above 450°F for best searing results. Avocados, safflower, or soybean don’t use olive oil, which has the lowest smoke point. You can add clarified butter which gives the scallops a rich, full flavor.

Why Won’t My Scallops Sear?

If Scallops won’t sear brown, there is excess moisture on the surface, or the oil isn’t hot enough. Wet scallops are treated with water and sodium tripolyphosphate and release more moisture when cooking, which interferes with the searing process leaving you with a boiled, rubbery scallop. Dry scallops are shucked on the boat but stored in dry containers with no water or preservatives added.

Pan Seared Scallops – Gordon Ramsay

Course: DinnerCuisine: American
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

4

minutes

You are creating Seared Scallops with a thoroughly cooked golden brown with a crispy outside crust, as you would expect at restaurants!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. 2 dry scallops, 10/20 ct. (about 20)

  • 2 tsp. 2 unsalted butter

  • 2 tsp. 2 Avocado Oil

  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt to taste

  • ¼ tsp. Ground black pepper

Directions

  • Rinse scallops with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.
  • Place the pan on the stovetop with high heat, then add the butter and avocado oil. Salt and pepper the scallops. Heat for 2 minutes (ensure the oil is hot); carefully add the scallops; they should not touch each other.
  • Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side until brown. Making sure the scallops develop a 1/4-inch golden crust on both sides while still being translucent in the center not to overcook.
  • Serve scallops immediately once cooking is complete or hold in pan for final assemble to plate.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen

John Siracusa

Cooking, for me, has always been an "art" infused with traditions. My career was inspired by Hell's Kitchen, the West Side of Manhattan, which boasts one of N.Y. City's best independent restaurant communities, along with Gordon Ramsay's no-nonsense approach towards always being your best.

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