Pan Seared Dry Sea Scallops

For searing purposes, dry scallops caramelize beautifully! Dry scallops taste sweet & natural

Pan Seared Dry Sea Scallops

“Dry” is the seafood industry term for natural scallops, which have not been treated with phosphates. Natural scallops have a slightly tan, or “vanilla” color. Dry scallops are superior for the following reasons:

For searing purposes, dry scallops caramelize beautifully! Dry scallops taste sweet & natural, where “treated” scallops can sometimes have a washed-out, or even slightly “soapy” or bitter flavor. Also, once they have been treated they do not “sear” well. When you put them in a hot skillet all the retained water oozes out.

  • 1/2 lb dry sea scallops
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or other high smoke point oil
  • 2 tbsp butter


I like big scallops U-10’s (ten to the pound. I salt the scallops a couple hours before they are ready to cook and remove the tough foot. Bring them out of the refrigerator at least an hour before you will pan-sear them. Pat the scallops very dry with a paper towel. At this point I may sprinkle them with a little Emeril’s seasoning.

Preheat a cast iron skillet (or other heavy fry pan) over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the grapeseed oil, then drop in your scallops, giving them enough room in between so they don’t steam each other. The scallops should make a sizzling noise when you put them in the pan.

Cook the scallops for 2 minutes, resist the urge to move them or touch them at all. Let them sear and brown and caramelize. Flip the scallops over with a pair of tongs, and add the butter to the pan. Let the scallops cook for 1 more minute, basting the scallops with the butter. Remove the scallops from the pan and serve!

Then – what to serve with pan seared scallops. I like pork belly. Yes, serve them with pan seared pork belly. Pork belly not for you, then try grilled asparagus and lemon butter sauce. Try sugar snap peas with butter. Or better yet, make the lemon butter sauce and serve the scallops over pasta with the sauce and some fresh grated Parmesan.