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Friday, April 5, 2013

Seared Sea Scallops

I’ve only prepared sea scallops a few times perhaps cautious of investing a sizable amount of money then not cooking them properly.

Like Lemon Grilled Shrimp and most sea foods for that matter over cooking definitely alters the delicate texture making it unpleasantly rubbery.

While looking for a good recipe I came across this particular one
which was a little different from the others since the scallops are dredged in herb scented flour before searing.  A splash of fresh lemon juice and sprinkle of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley finish them off in a most delicious way.

This is the second time I’ve used this recipe and will definitely use it again.  Larger size scallops can be a little or maybe a lot on the expensive side but when the outcome is successful and enjoyed by all present at the table it’s definitely worth the extra expense.  Although scallops come in various sizes the 16 to 20 per pound size make perfect appetizers.  These are anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter and even with shrinkage still end up being a good size.

As you well know by now I enjoy learning about the food I cook and while taking an interesting read on scallops came across some shocking information allowing me to become a little wiser on the subject.

Buyer beware!  Apparently some less than honest vendors are selling scallops which are not scallops at all. Who could have even imagined that the larger sea scallops are sometimes imitated by taking circular cookie cutter punches out of skate or shark meat and passed off as very expensive scallops.

Reading further I learned that the easiest way to determine if you have purchased real scallops is to check the striations on the side of it.  If they run vertically you’re eating a scallop.  If they are horizontal then you’ve been duped and someone has made off with your hard earned cash!

This news sent me running to my fridge to check out exactly on what I had spent my money all the while hoping for the best.

Vertical!  Thank goodness, and now much wiser on the subject of scallops I will make sure to check each time I purchase them.  The real thing is a delectable mollusk harvested from a ribbed, fan-shaped shell.

No fins, no scales and definitely no cookie cutter!

Seared Sea Scallops
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper
16 sea scallops
2 tablespoons olive oil or corn oil
½ lemon
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  1. To defrost scallops place in a bowl of cold, salted water.
  2. When defrosted drain well and place on paper towels to dry off as much as possible.
  3. In a bowl mix together flour, salt, oregano, thyme and lemon pepper.
  4. Roll scallops in flour mixture until lightly coated on all sides.
  5. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat.
  6. Add 3 to 4 scallops at a time to the pan and sear on both sides (about 2 minutes each side.)
  7. Repeat 3 times until all of the scallops are cooked.
  8. Place on a dish then into a warmed oven until ready to serve.
  9. Toss with parsley and lemon juice.
  10. Serves 4.


Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • Make sure scallops are dried off very well to ensure a good sear.
  • I replaced the lemon pepper with lemon thyme and added black pepper instead.
  • Don’t overcook, scallops will do a little carry over cooking after removing from pan.
  • You may be tempted to sear all of the scallops at once since there is enough room in the skillet... don't do it! You may end up eating steamed scallops instead. A good sear is produced by a hot skillet and cooking a few scallops at a time.


  1. elizabeth, who enjoys all seafoodApril 7, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    What a unique post - it wasn't cookie cutter in its writing at all :)

    And I can't believe the fraud that comes with the faux scallops - how fishy is that! (ok ok I'll stop)

    Thanks for the tip regarding searing - I am certainly not a patient cook. I guess that's a characteristic that comes in time (heh, ok, I'll stop for real now)

  2. Scallop fraud...a new one every day!
    Patience...reaps great rewards!
    A good sear...delicious!