Friday, September 5, 2008

Ask Mary: Scallop Cooking

Dear Mary,
How do I cook scallops properly? I love to eat them in restaurants, but whenever I try to make them at home, they come out as chewy as a rubber band.
Frustrated Scallop Lover

Dear Frustrated Scallop Lover,

When I was in culinary school, I went home for the holidays and announced that I would be cooking dinner for my family. Among all of the dishes that I could have chosen to impress them with my new-found culinary skills, I chose to make them scallops. What a mistake! The scallops arrived at the table clear and completely under-cooked. I was so embarrassed and quickly boiled up some pasta.

Since then, I've practiced and found some tips to making great restaurant-like scallops:

Use a cast iron skillet. Put a little oil in it first so that the scallops won't stick. Get the pan really hot. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. And then sear. Sear 5 minutes on one side (more time if scallops are bigger, less if they are smaller), and then turn them over and sear 3 minutes the other side. When you are finished, throw some butter in the pan and gloss them a bit before serving.

No more chew - just buttery and delicious! Your friends and family will be totally impressed!

Happy Cooking!