Yay! Pan-Seared Scallops are finally here! For those of you who now think I’m crazy for randomly saying Pan-Seared Scallops are finally here — as if they were missing — see this post for the whole story).
Believe it or not, but I had actually never made pan-seared scallops before. I searched around for different recipes and instructions for how to pan-sear scallops which…actually…started to make me worried about doing it “right.” I read I couldn’t use a non-stick pan or it would be a waste of time. Eek! I read I needed huge “dry scallops” that were never infused with water by the market. Yelp! I read, if you don’t do it right, you will overcook the scallops, which will render them completely rubbery and inedible and you will have thrown your money out the window.
Jeez! This sounded scary. What was I thinking posting about this on my blog??
Well, I sucked it up, as I was determined to make a delicious, simple recipe I could be proud to post on my blog. Well, when I went to the store, I was saddened to find the only thing “jumbo” about the “Jumbo Scallops” was the price. Luckily, those little buggers didn’t weigh very much so I actually bought 8 relatively large scallops for only $3.50. Not. Too. Shabby.
Since I really love scallops with pasta, I decided to make a simple garlic and olive oil sauce and toss it with some linguine and roasted pine nuts. The pine nuts were actually Dustin’s idea — they were great as they added a nice crunch to an otherwise softly texture pasta and scallops. Total points for Dustin!
Pssst: I don’t own a pan that isn’t non-stick. I’m sorry. I just don’t. So, you can imagine my fretting when — everywhere I looked — I was being told NOT to use a non-stick pan to pan-sear my scallops. Oops. Well, I don’t…but I did it anyway…and it turned out fabulously.
After this adventure of mine, I have found scallops really aren’t as scary as people like to make them. Just be sure to keep a few things in mind:
(1) They can easily overcook and become more rubbery than tender, so try to cook them for as little time as possible to get the job done. Generally, scallops take no longer than one or two minutes to cook per side, depending on size. Remember they will continue to cook once off the heat as well. Scallops are ready when the flesh is opaque and the center is slightly translucent.
(2) Try to get uniformly-sized and large scallops. This will help when cooking as they will all cook evenly.
(3) Make sure the scallops are completely dry (patted dry with a paper towel) before searing as any liquid may cause the sear to become more of a steam.
Pan-Seared Scallops with Linguine and Roasted Pine Nuts
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup raw pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
8 jumbo scallops, patted dry
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus to taste
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, plus to taste
1/2 box linguine
Cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling salted water for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden, stirring frequently. Once golden, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Be careful to not let the garlic burn. Remove from the heat and add 1 tbsp. butter, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper. Add the drained noodles to the pan and mix to evenly dress the noodles with the sauce and pine nuts. Let rest while you sear the scallops.
In a separate large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. unsalted butter over high heat. Lightly season each side of the scallops with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Just before the butter begins to turn golden, add the scallops to the pan. Take care not to overcrowd the scallops and place the scallops in the pan with at least 1-2 inches between them (so they don’t crowd and steam one another). Allow the scallops to cook for two minutes without touching them. After two minutes, the bottom should be browned nicely. Flip the scallops and cook for another minute or until well-browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
With the heat off, quickly add the noodles to the pan you used for the scallops and toss. Quickly remove from the pan and serve to avoid burning the pasta.