Purchase day-boat or diver scallops, or if you must, IQF frozen ones that are labeled as not containing any preservatives. They should NOT be “pure white” in color, but a variety of hues from white to tan to a bit golden. Sizes vary from U8 (meaning, 2 oz. per scallop or 8 to a pound) and smaller, generally the ones we find most commonly are U15’s. How many people they serve depends on what you are using them for — this is just a basic technique recipe.
- Sea scallops, whatever size (about 1/3 lb. per person, they are rich!)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Grape seed oil for frying
- Lemon wedges, paprika (optional)
Clean the scallops: remove the tough “foot” from the side if you find one (you will be able to see it, if it's there; often only some of the scallops still have it attached). Pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large enough frying pan to fit them loosely so they don’t touch, over medium-high heat. It should be a heavy pan, cast iron is ideal. Once the pan is hot, add a good film of oil. Place the scallops in the pan on one flat side. Don’t touch or turn until the bottom is browned, and you can see opaque “cooked” edges that go up about ¼ inch. Turn the scallops. Continue to cook until the second side is brown. Remove to a platter and serve as is, or garnished as you wish, with lemon wedges and a dusting of paprika, for instance. The scallops should not be totally cooked through, but the middle should be quite warm.