Updated: May 15, 2020
The easiest, most decadent meal is sure to impress and created with little effort! Enjoy with a loved one and your favorite glass of white wine!
Scallops have to be my second favorite kind of seafood...after crab, of course. When cooked perfectly, they can feel like a splurge; when really, they're just a simple seafood of which is protein packed, full of vitamins and minerals and low in calories. They are also so easy to dress up and a blank canvas for being made into something absolutely amazing! My hubby and I have a favorite restaurant in the metro that offers something called a scallop benedict on brioche, and it is to die for! So of course, I felt inspired by that to make something just as delicious at home.
This meal can be fun as an appetizer or enjoyed as a main course with a salad and roasted golden potatoes alongside of it. But regardless of if you decide to eat it as a main course or an appetizer, you won't be disappointed especially if you have an appreciation for scallops like me!
Tips to Consider:
"Wet" or "Dry" Scallops?
One thing I prefer when shopping for scallops is that they're "dry," meaning they weren't soaked in a solution that wet scallops are which is intended to preserve them after being harvested from the ocean. Wet scallops are typically frozen after being soaked in the solution and what results is a scallop that is so full of moisture that when cooked, it's difficult to get a sear because they are steaming instead of searing from all of the moisture being released. If it isn't labeled on the packaging, you can ask someone at the market to specify for you. Dry scallops often have a little more pink in color to them, indicating they are more fresh when compared to wet scallops, which appear more white in color from being treated in the solution and then frozen. However, if you are having too hard of a time finding dry scallops, you can do the wet, you'll just want to make sure they are thawed completely in cold water, then moved to a plate lined with a few paper towels and covered with a few more paper towels, then firmly wrapped in them so that as much moisture can be absorbed as possible. If those paper towels get wet quickly, repeat this process with new paper towels to ensure all the moisture is absorbed prior to cooking.
How do I get that perfect, crusty sear on my scallops?
It is so very important that you don't use a pan that has a "non-stick" coating on it. You will never get a good sear with a non-stick pan, so something like a cast iron skillet or a stainless steel pan will be best. I also like to use vegetable oil because it has a high smoke point, so it's great for searing due to the high temperature needed. Just like with searing a steak, your pan should be piping hot prior to searing.
Make sure that your scallops are as dry as possible as previously mentioned, and that your pan has just a little oil in it that has had a good dance around the pan to coat it all evenly. You also want to make sure you do not crowd the scallops, because this will also create steam in the pan and prevent that gorgeous sear from forming. Give each scallop at least an inch or two of space in between or cook in batches. You also want to make sure to not poke and prod at the scallops with a tong while cooking. Proteins, especially seafood often have a tendency to "stick" to the pan, and it will naturally release when it is ready. Thus, if your scallops are "sticking," they're probably not ready to flip, (unless it's possible that you didn't coat the pan with enough oil evenly). Once you can see that there is a robust golden crust forming, it's likely safe to flip, and the other side takes only one minute until they're done!
How do I know when my scallops are done?
Scallops are quite honestly one of the easiest things to overcook, which can yield rubbery textured scallops; so it's important that you don't walk away from them while cooking. The whole process takes about 3 minutes to complete and it's so important to keep an eye on that sear. One easy way to tell that they're done is to look at the sides, you will see that they will slightly begin to break apart. They should also have golden color on both sides. As mentioned before, I typically cook them for two minutes on the first side, then flip and cook the final minute on the opposite side.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (including hollandaise prep and bacon)
Yield: 2 servings (3 medium sized scallops per person for an appetizer, 5-6 per person for an entree)
What You'll Need:
Hollandaise (recipe follows)
2-4 slices of crispy bacon (2 for an app, 4 for 2 entrees)
6-12 medium sized scallops depending on if you're doing an app or entree
Finely sliced chives, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for garnish
How To Prepare:
1. Put 2-4 slices of bacon on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until perfectly crispy.
2. Lay on a paper towel to cool and absorb grease.
3. Break up your bacon to crumbles using clean hands and set aside.
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into tablespoon size portions
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of paprika
1. Place a saucepan over medium heat with one inch of water until simmering. Once simmering, reduce to low heat to maintain a simmer. Do not boil.
2. Vigorously whisk your egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl until lighter in color and the volume has increased by half. About 3 minutes.
3. Move your stainless steel bowl to on top of the saucepan and continue whisking vigorously for 3-5 minutes. You'll whisk until the mixture has thickened to a custard like consistency, thick enough to form a ribbon when you pull the whisk up or thick enough to heavily coat the back of a spoon. Be sure to whisk consistently to avoid your mixture from scrambling; if the texture begins to break (your yolks are starting to scramble), remove it from heat and continue whisking to withhold the consistency.
4. Once thick, add in your tablespoons of butter, 2-3 at a time until melting into the mixture. You'll do this until all the butter has been added and melted, while continuing to whisk. You can do this over the heat, but move it off the heat and whisk spontaneously a few times to avoid it from getting too hot.
5. Once all of your butter has melted into the mixture, remove from heat and add in your pinch of kosher salt and paprika and whisk to combine. If it's too thick, you may add a teaspoon or two of water. Cover with foil and set on a hot pad to keep warm while you prepare your scallops.
*It can sit out at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours and you may keep leftovers in your fridge for 1-2 days. You'll reheat it with the same method you used to cook it, do not microwave or put in direct contact with heat or it will break the texture.
1. Put your scallops on a paper towel with another on top and press down to absorb all liquid. As mentioned in my notes above, if you are using "wet scallops," you may want to leave them out longer (around 30 minutes) after thawing to allow as much moisture as possible to escape to ensure you get a sear and don't steam them. Once your scallops are dry as can be from padding with paper towels as much as needed, put them on a plate once again lined with new paper towels and season lightly on both sides with a pinch of kosher salt and pepper. *Do not season too far in advance before cooking or your scallops could end up absorbing all the salt quickly and therefore tasting extremely salty.
2. Do this step once your scallops are ready for the pan!**
Heat a cast iron or stainless steel pan over medium-high to high heat with two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Wearing a hot pad on your hand, lift the handle and give the oil a dance around the pan to coat it lightly and evenly. You want your oil shimmering but not smoking; smoking oil will burn your scallops.
3. Using a tong, place your scallops in the pan, giving enough space (an inch or so) in between each to allow steam to escape; you may need to cook in batches. Your pan should make a loud sizzling sound when the scallops come in contact with the heat, ensuring the pan is plenty hot enough to form a sear.
4. Leave the scallops on this side for approximately 2 minutes, until the scallop easily releases from the pan when you go to move it (if it sticks, it's likely not ready to flip, don't force it, otherwise check to see that the pan is coated enough in oil).
5. Once you can see that a crust has formed and the scallops easily flip, cook on the opposite side for one more minute.
6. Move to a plate, top with a generous spoonful of the prepared hollandaise, crumbled bacon pieces, a dusting of paprika and chives. Enjoy!
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to post a photo and tag @boujeekitchen_ on instagram and hashtag it #boujeekitchen
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