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  #1  
Old 03-23-2014, 07:53 PM
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Default How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

I love pan-seared sea scallops in restaurants and have seen beautiful photos of them in magazines.

But I have yet to be able to re-create the nice dark brown crust when I pan-sear my scallops.

Have you? How?

Lee
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

Hi Lee - I have never tried it, so I did a little research (Links below). All the links that I read seem to emphasize that the scallops be rinsed and patted dry. The oil must be a mixture of olive oil and butter, finally, the pan has to be real hot. One link suggested just at the smoke point.

Hope this helps.

Andy

http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/fis...eascallops.htm

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/m...-scallops.aspx

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/a...ps-recipe.html
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

Take a look at them before you buy. Some are treated and have a lot of liquid in them. They will be sitting in a puddle of liquid. They will not form a crust. Look for ones that look a little sticky. They do need to be patted dry and seared in a very hot pan. Peanut oil would be a good choice because of its very high smoke point.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

I use frozen sea scallops. I thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. When they are fully thawed, I rinse them, pat them dry, put them on a couple layers of paper towels (top and bottom), and put them back into the refrigerator. When the paper towels get soggy, I change them out. If those get soggy, I do it again .

I use a mixture of butter and olive oil in a non-stick pan. Some people say that you shouldn't use non-stick, but it works for me. I've done them in stainless and cast iron too. Non-stick just works best for me, and it's the easiest clean up.

I would love to get my hands on some dry pack, but that's not going to happen around here.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

if they've been IQF on the boat, odds are they are "dry"

they're treated with phosphates to "keep them fresh (looking)" - especially on day boats - that are sold "fresh" to the markets.

I do them in cast iron - hot - hot - hot - with just a dribble of olive oil. then melt a small pat of butter on top when them come out of the pan.

I have also done them in alum non-stick; better results in cast iron methinks. I'm guessing the aluminum "chill shocks" and hence once does not develop that initial crust.

as with other sears, one trick is: thou shalt not move thy scallop
in the pan, where ever it lands, until 'done' on that side.....
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

Added water prior to sale - http://www.boston.com/news/local/mas...C9H/story.html
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

I love scallops also, either broiled, fried or wrapped in bacon slices and baked!!! Delish!!!
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

>> buying water/ice at $15/lb....

that's one of the things that always bothered me about buying shrimp "over the counter"

in our location, except for mussels and clams - "fresh never frozen" seafood is a rarity. happens with some high end salmon and steelhead. highly seasonal; very limited supply. take two wallets when shopping . . .

depending on one's 'timing' at the shrimp counter, been always bugged by the large amounts of ice. if the frozen-going-to-thaw shrimp are relatively 'fresh' under the glass, huge amounts of ice going on the scale.

once upon a time I came across the fish monger 'replenishing' the counter. she was cutting open two pound bags - the same thing that's in the frozen section - and dumping them into a tray to thaw under glass. well, thought I, I can buy a frozen bag and thaw them meself to the exact quantity I need versus guesstimating a pound qty.... frozen stock is my current practice.

and I learned the sea scallops are the same deal - they simply open a bag of the frozen stuff "over there on that shelf." however when the store mis-estimates the supply-and-demand bit (the fish monger retired, her replacement is not up to the required fin-abilities....) I've twice gotten nice fat scallops only to find they reek to high heaven - and had to take them back. fortunately, I'm close enough to the supermarket that the dinner schedule wasn't severely impacted. but sure got my dander in a dander....

anyway, getting to the end of this shaggy dog story - just bought a 2 lb bag of wild caught, sustainable, domestic/Gulf shrimp, 21-16 count.

so I weighed it. it weighs in at (non-trade legal scale) at 2 lbs 5.5 ounces. allowing one ounce for the bag, that's 2lb 4.5 ounces of shrimp, which is an 'over pack' of 4.5 ounces and (4.5/32=0.14) is 14.0635% by weight "free"

but that's not the end of the story. "underweight" packaging is the number one way to find oneself in court. packing oatmeal, one can quite accurately reach the fill weight.... one oat flake does not weigh so much.... but for shrimp, it's plus or minus one shrimp to make the advertised sold weight. hence, if the package is the slightest bit 'underweight' the packager must add one shrimp.

21-26 count,
the largest shrimp is 0.761905 ounces, or 2.381% of a 32 ounce bag
the smallest shrimp is 0.0615385 ounces, or 1.923% of a 32 ounce bag.
deducting those percentages from the 14+% "over pack" puts the whole deal above and beyond the "10% water" charged at $X/lb.

this is of course just a mathematical exercise on one single bag. regulatory agencies don't get all that excited about one bag - they get excited about "whole skids / cases" of product that consistently turn up "under weight"

the point? there is one.... if you're buying ice encrusted shrimp/scallops/fish over the counter, you're not buying a "2 lb package that (may) weigh more than two pounds" - they put the ice encrusted product on a scale and you _are_ paying $x/lb for "ice and all" _exactly_

the heavy duty shoppers have certainly noticed that shrimp - as an example - is often 'on sale' - and frequently as a 'loss leader' - a price per pound seriously less per pound than the "frozen bag on the other shelf"
if the shrimp is not ice encrusted, major deal for use "today" - otherwise could be iffy depending on the 'discount'

the same analysis applies to scallops - but note that plus or minus one scallop is a bigger percentage / weight than one shrimp.

so today I bought a one pound bag, frozen - 10-20 scallops per pound (now there's a "range",,,,,)
weighs in (using one ounce for the bag) at 1 lb 2-3/8 ounces. that's 14.84% "overweight"
did not do the % by count analysis as a 100% variation in count (the 10-20/lb thing) is a bit way out.

so, them be yelling about paying for 10% water might actually be a smidge misguided.....

Last edited by ChowderMan; 03-25-2014 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leni View Post
. Some are treated and have a lot of liquid in them. They will be sitting in a puddle of liquid. They will not form a crust..
This was EXACTLY the case when I bought scallops last week, Leni!

I will not make that mistake again - not for $15 a pound! Not for $2 a pound! They were blah!

Lee
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

watch whom your purveyor buys from. ppl inject meats/seafoods w/ a saline to tack on fruitless $$. they won't sear properly.
or, get a cast iron skillet to accomplish searing (pre-warm that pan). if that food resists turning, let said food continue cooking until 'tis properly cooked & easily turns.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooksie View Post
I use frozen sea scallops. I thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. When they are fully thawed, I rinse them, pat them dry, put them on a couple layers of paper towels (top and bottom), and put them back into the refrigerator. When the paper towels get soggy, I change them out. If those get soggy, I do it again .

I use a mixture of butter and olive oil in a non-stick pan. Some people say that you shouldn't use non-stick, but it works for me. I've done them in stainless and cast iron too. Non-stick just works best for me, and it's the easiest clean up.

I would love to get my hands on some dry pack, but that's not going to happen around here.
I do the exact same. They have to be dry, dry, dry before you even think of putting them in the pan. And I only buy them from a very trusted fish vendor we have in town. Sea scallops, not bay scallops.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooksie View Post
I use frozen sea scallops. I thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. When they are fully thawed, I rinse them, pat them dry, put them on a couple layers of paper towels (top and bottom), and put them back into the refrigerator. When the paper towels get soggy, I change them out. If those get soggy, I do it again .

I use a mixture of butter and olive oil in a non-stick pan. Some people say that you shouldn't use non-stick, but it works for me. I've done them in stainless and cast iron too. Non-stick just works best for me, and it's the easiest clean up.

I would love to get my hands on some dry pack, but that's not going to happen around here.
WOW!

I just saw the photo below in a recent dinner thread. Cooksie's method evidently DOES work beautifully for her!

I will certainly try it!

Nice job, Cooksie! Do you season the scallops with anything before searing?

Lee
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

Sometimes I use a little lemon pepper, others times nothing at all.
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

I've heard about dry scallops for years, but have never seen any to buy. They don't have anything added to them and they are much easier to sear. Market Basket had a sale on them this week so I bought 6. A little over $1.00 apiece.


Used Alton Brown's simple recipe in a stainless steel pan. Turned out great and I loved them! https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/...recipe-1916984


Served with caprese salad (just "eh") and Aunt Stella's Wilted Lettuce (always wonderful).


I opened a cold bottle of Chardonney to go with. Very good!


"Translucent in the middle, tender, glistening, Master Chef-worthy".


Will definitely do these again!


Lee
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: How do I get a good crust on sea scallops?

The dry pack scallops are wonderful in a crudo presentation with citrus juices that "cook" the scallop slices. You cut them in half or in thirds horizontally.
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