Kitchen Secrets: How to Sear Sea Scallops

July 2, 2014

In this episode of Foodista’s Kitchen Secrets, Chef in the Hat, Thierry Rautureau, shows us how to sear sea scallops. First, he recommends that you buy dry-packed scallops. These are scallops that have been packed and shipped on ice without any chemical additives. They’re the healthiest and most flavorful and won’t have that nasty chemical flavor like wet-packed ones which are soaked in water and food additives, thus dulling their naturally sweet flavor.

Watch the video below and learn how to sear your sea scallops to perfection! Soon you’ll be cooking them as good as your favorite seafood restaurant. Here’s to no more overcooked, eraser-like scallops. Be sure to subscribe to Foodista's Kitchen Secrets video series for more how-to tips!

Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Thierry Rautureau, the Chef in the Hat, owner of Luc in Madison Valley and Loulay in downtown Seattle.

Right now, we're going to talk about sea scallops. What you're looking for, and you need to ask your fishmonger, yes you need a fishmonger, is for dry-packed scallops. These will be the scallops that you will be able to sear in the pan and get this beautiful sear on the outside like you find in restaurants. The number one thing is to turn on your pan and walk away from it. Let it get hot. Don't be scared, it will smoke, that's what you're looking for. The only treatment for the scallop is a little bit of oil, canola oil, which sustains the heat a little bit more than olive oil, obviously, a little bit of salt and pepper. Toss them nicely around. There we go.

Let's see how hot this is. Ah, it's pretty hot, as you would say. Look at that, the water just jumps right on top of that pan. Alright, that's all you need for the scallop; a little dollop of oil. Just right away, drop in your scallop right on top of that, just like this. Do not touch your fish until it's cooked. Turn down the heat to medium and let it sear a little bit. You're looking for the protein to caramelize right on the outside of that scallop. Look at this beautiful scallop.

If your pan gets a little bit dry, all you have to do is just put a little dollop of that canola oil again right on top of that. No flame allowed. Let's turn off the heat. Now scallops do not cook to medium-well, OK? Otherwise you have a piece of rubber on your hands. You want it to be almost raw in the middle. And one of the best secret ingredients in the French cuisine is of course, butter. A nice little nugget of butter melted right on top of your scallop, and that's how you finish cooking your scallop. Just keep putting that butter right on top of that scallop like this. And that, my friend, will finish to cook it. But one thing I like to do from here, is to drop it right in here, and just toss my scallop like this with all of that fresh herbs. That was a nice little salad, and voila. Bon appetit, mon ami.

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