The Simple Art Of Cooking: Super Scallops

Sweet, succulent scallops are one of the joys of the table throughout the year. This versatile shellfish seems to be a favorite among restaurant diners as I have noted dining with friends and relatives here in Miami Beach. Yet scallops are quick and easy to cook with the minimal preparation needed to give the dish some oomph! Here are some guidelines.

Be sure to remove the tough, shiny white muscle along each scallop. Rinse and pat dry; scallops must be very dry before cooking. They can be sautéed, broiled or added to a fish stew.

Prepare your mise-en-place – (everything in readiness) before cooking scallops, which literally cook in minutes. For the broiled scallop recipe below arrange the breadcrumbs and seasonings on a large plate to coat scallops before cooking. Place the butter in a small saucepan to heat through while the scallops broil, then serve with the melted butter and squirt of lemon.

When sautéing scallops, get your skillet hot before hitting the pan with the scallops so that they sear quickly while retaining their moist interior. We’re in citrus country here in Florida and of course there’s no shortage of a variety of citrus up North. It’s the perfect time of the year to prepare panko-crusted scallops with citrus sauce.

 

BROILED SEA SCALLOPS WITH MELTED BUTTER

These seafood jewels cook quickly and served immediately, otherwise their moisture content

and flavor is greatly diminished.

Serves 4

 

1 pound sea scallops, tough side muscle discarded

3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

2 to 3 dashes paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Lemon wedges for garnish

 

Adjust broiler rack to 3 to 4 inches below source of heat and preheat broiler to its highest setting.

 

1. Rinse the scallops and dry well with paper towels. Place panko breadcrumbs on a large plate and season with paprika, salt and pepper. Coat scallops on both sides in seasoned mixture. Arrange scallops one layer deep in a broiler pan. Broil for 1/2 to 2 minutes on one side; remove pan from oven, turn each one with tongs and broil for 1 minute longer.

 

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan. When scallops are done, they should be springy to the touch and slightly undercooked. Serve on warm plates with a drizzle of butter and lemon garnish.

 

CRUSTED SCALLOPS WITH CITRUS SAUCE

Dust the scallops with panko, Japanese-style breadcrumbs for added crunch.

Serves 4

 

Orange peel from 1 navel orange

20 even-size sea scallops, tough side muscle removed

Panko breadcrumbs

Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 to 2 shallots, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

 

1. Slice the orange peel into julienne and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and reserve.

 

2. Rinse scallops and pat dry with paper towels. Put the panko bread crumbs on a plate and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Dredge the scallops in the mixture to coat.

 

3. Heat a cast iron skillet or sturdy sauté pan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the oil and 1 tablespoon butter, and when butter foam subsides put in the scallops. Sear the scallops until barely opaque, about 1 1/2 minutes each side. You may have to sauté scallops in two or three batches. Transfer to warm plates as they are done.

 

4. Melt remaining butter in the pan, add chopped shallot and sauté quickly until translucent. Add orange juice and stir to deglaze pan drippings and taste for salt and pepper. Add the orange peel julienne and parsley and stir to mix. Divide sauce equally over the plated scallops and serve.

 

ALMOND CRUSTED SEA SCALLOPS

While I was visiting South Florida, a Miami Beach chef shared this intriguing recipe with me.

Serves 4

 

1/4 cup finely chopped almonds

1/2 teaspoon each paprika, black pepper, cumin, nutmeg and coriander

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

16 large sea scallops, side muscle removed

1 tablespoon sea salt

Lemon wedges for serving

 

1. Chop almonds finely in a food processor, being careful not to over process to a paste, and mix with spices in a bowl.

 

2. Heat combined oils in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile rinse scallops and dry very well with paper towels. Place them on a tray seasoned lightly with sea salt and toss to mix. Add scallops to the nut spice mixture and toss to coat evenly. When oil in skillet is hot but not smoking put the scallops in the pan in a single layer and sauté for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Do not overcook or scallops will be tough. Cook the scallops in batches as necessary. Serve immediately with lemon wedge.

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