Easy Ways to Cook and Prepare Large Sea Scallops
- 6-8 sea scallops, (large/jumbo scallops)
- 1 tablespoon butter, (or substitute non-stick oil/spray)
- Optional: Prepare scallops by cutting off the “beards.” Some people don’t like them because they can more easily become rubbery during cooking, but I usually leave them on.
- Prepare large saucepan with either 1 tablespoon of butter or non-stick oil/cooking spray. I prefer to use butter because it adds a rich flavor to the sautéed scallops. 1 tablespoon is usually enough without adding too much fat (if that is a concern).
- Heat the pan on medium/medium low until hot. On my stovetop, this translates to setting the burner to 4 (out of 10). If using the butter, heat just long enough for the butter to melt, but be careful not to cook it away before adding the scallops.
- Add the scallops to the pan with tongs one by one, spacing evenly.
- Cook the scallops for approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Use the tongs to quickly turn the scallops. The exact cook time depends on the size of the scallops as “super-jumbo” scallops will require longer time. If unsure, try 2 ½ minutes per side and then check one by cutting into it. Ideally, you don’t want to see any translucency in the middle, but be VERY careful not to overcook them or they’ll turn to rubber.
- Once the scallops are cooked, enjoy plain or with your favorite seasoning or sauce. A few ideas are given below.
Easy Garlic Butter Sauce
Simply melt butter in a small microwave-save dish and then add garlic seasoning for an easy garlic-butter dip. For a stronger garlic flavor, sauté fresh minced garlic with the scallops as you are cooking them in the saucepan.
Japanese Orange Fish Sauce
Japanese Orange Fish Sauce
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
This is the orange sauce (or a very close approximation of the orange sauce) used in Japanese steakhouses. Simply melt the butter in a small microwave safe container and then stir in the other ingredients. Finish by heating in the microwave on medium power until warm (maybe 10-15 seconds depending on the microwave). Pour over scallops or use as a dip. You can also make a larger portion and store the excess in the freezer for the next time you cook scallops. For thicker sauce, make ahead of time and refrigerate until cool. Stir again before serving.
This works particularly well if serving the scallops on a bed of rice. Simply sprinkle as much soy sauce as you want on it for flavor. Or, you can also add a splash of soy sauce, a tiny dash of sugar, a tiny bit of salt, and sesame seeds to the pan as you are cooking for Japanese-restaurant style scallops. You can also substitute “Gomasio” for the seasoning (found in Asian markets—typically consists of salt, ground sesame seeds, seaweed, and sometimes sugar) and use that with the soy sauce.
Simply add bacon strips to the pan as you are cooking the scallops for a very tasty combination. You can also cook the scallops wrapped in bacon, but it may require more cooking time and finesse, so master cooking plain scallops first. As an alternative, you can wrap the bacon around the scallops when finished for serving afterwards, holding it in place with a toothpick. If you prefer your bacon more well-done, and also want to drain the fat before cooking it with the scallops, pre-cook it in the pan for a bit, drain, then either add or wrap the scallops. It just depends on individual preference.
Easy Lemon Butter Sauce
Simply melt butter in a small microwave-save dish and then add lemon juice. You can also freshly-squeeze the lemon juice from lemons either in the butter or directly on the scallops. The amount depends on preference and how “lemony” you like it.