Seared Scallops With Briny Tartar Sauce
Category: Main Dishes | Blog URL: http://www.adoctorskitchen.com/archives/seared-scallops-with-briny-tartar-sauce-2
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Deborah Chud
Bay scallops get all the glory. Their season is short; they're rare and pricey. But for healthy cooking, give me scallops from the sea! Why? SURFACE AREA. Not to go too mathematical on you, but surface area is the key to cooking scallops in very little fat.
Successful searing requires a certain amount of fat per unit area. The smaller the scallops, the greater their aggregate surface area, and the more fat you need to coat that surface.The fat forms a barrier around the scallops that helps them retain their water. If there's too little fat to coat them, they'll simply release their water and steam instead of sear, and you'll never get them to caramelize. Sea scallops have a smaller total surface area, so searing them requires less fat. Make sense?
Now, this dish is all about the caramelization. It brings out the sweetness of the scallops, which balances the salty-briny flavor of the sauce. It also adds a thin crust that sets off the scallops' creamy interior. Finally, the little flecks of gold make them look as good as they taste. You want your scallops dry and your skillet hot. After coating them with oil, place your scallops in the skillet one at a time--spaced so they don't touch each other. When you're ready to turn them, use the edge of a plastic spatula inserted under the crust, as close to the skillet surface as possible. Caramelize or bust!