Perfectly Seared Scallops – AIP, Paleo, Low-FODMAP
I’d be willing bet that (if you’re anything like me) at some point in time you’ve cooked up some soggy, rubbery scallops. Don’t feel badly! The opaque, fat gems of the sea are temperamental culinary creatures to tackle …notorious for being as easy to cook AND mess up as are scrambled eggs. With quality scallops costing an average of $15-40/lb, “chewy-tire” just isn’t the texture we’re going for, folks. Blargh.
I’m here to help. Let’s do this, shall we?
Before we get started, I’m going to briefly touch on wet vs dry scallops:
- “Wet” scallops have been treated in a ickety chemical bath called sodium tripolyphosphate. That we don’t want to consume. Like, ever. That’s just nasty. This also adds weight to the scallops that, you guess it, you pay for ANNNNND the liquid (money?) comes out during cooking, making them rubbery as ducks.
- “Dry” scallops have not been treated in the aforementioned schmutz. These babies are the babies that you want. They are real food! Hooray!! (U.S. Wellness Meats carries these scallops, and our local Costco has them too. Whole Foods may also be a good bet. Ask your store if the scallops are treated or not. This generally is required to be listed on the package.)
Onto the preparation method:
First, if frozen (like they come in most of Texas!) thaw your scallops completely in the refrigerator. This could take one or two days. When they are thawed, rinse your scallops briefly in cold water in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear.
Now place the sieve, with scallops still inside, over a tall mixing bowl. Allow the excess liquid from scallops to drain for about 20 minutes.
Next, lay out a large kitchen towel -or- doubled up durable paper towels on a baking sheet or directly on the counter. (Depending on how much clean up you want to do!) Place drained scallops on towels in a single layer, and place another towel on top. This will help to absorb as much of the remaining liquid from the scallops.
A properly dried scallop will release less liquids while cooking = instead of boiling in the released juices, your scallops are going to sear and form a lovely golden crust!
Now…get a large ceramic nonstick pan going over Med-High/High heat (smack dab in between High and Medium High). Add in an oil that works well with high heat, ie: this avocado oil can withstand up to 500 F. Ghee can also withstand high cooking temperatures, and, if you are doing the Autoimmune Protocol and have reintroduced ghee successfully, it is my recommended cooking fat due to the lovey buttery taste that goes so well with scallops.
Season your scallops with Himalayan salt, and carefully place with silicone tongs into your hot pan (the silicone tips help to keep your ceramic non-stick, well…non-stick.). Don’t overcrowd that pan! Pretty pleeeease! 😀 Overcrowding will reduce the cooking temperature and make your scallops cook more slowly, and THAT means: you won’t get that delicious crust. Work in batches if necessary, yo.
I have another favor to ask now…please don’t move the scallops around! Not an inch, ok? 🙂 Doing that changes the temperature point around underneath, and again we get the crustlessness factor by doing so. The only time you need to move them is when you flip them.
About two minutes into cooking on the first side, and when you can see the translucent color turn to opaque about halfway through the scallop, use your tongs and turn them over one at a time. And again, no movey-movey until they have JUST turned from translucent to opaque (you can get a little sideview while they are cooking to tell…should be about another two minutes). When this happens, they are done! You’ve cooked them up in just around 5 minutes, and that’s a beautiful thing, dear.
Congratulations!! You have made the perfectly seared scallop. And it is delicious, and nutrient-dense, and you’re a fabulously amazing chef, my dear. 🙂
*Recipesfor the accompanying Dried Citrus Zest coming very soon!*
- If frozen, thaw scallops completely in the refrigerator.
- When thawed, rinse scallops briefly in cold water in fine mesh sieve until water runs clear.
- Place sieve with scallops over tall mixing bowl. Allow excess liquid to drain for about 20 minutes.
- Lay large kitchen towel -or- doubled up durable paper towels on baking sheet or on counter. Place drained scallops on towels in a single layer, and place another towel on top to get scallops as dry as possible. Allow towels to absorb liquid for about ten minutes or longer.
- Heat a large ceramic nonstick pan over Med-High/High heat. Add avocado oil for strict AIP, or ghee otherwise .
- Salt the scallops, and carefully place with silicone tongs into hot pan. Don't overcrowd. Work in batches if necessary. Don't move them around or you will not achieve a golden crust.
- Cook about two minutes or until the translucence turns opaque about halfway through the scallop.
- Use tongs to turn them over one at a time. When they have JUST turned from translucent to opaque, about another two minutes, they are done.
- Delicious served with lemon wedges and fresh chopped parsley.