Scallops can often be intimidating, but they are actually among the easiest proteins to cook. The key is a hot pan and some patience. This recipe adds to the natural umami of scallops by including everyone's favorite ingredient: butter. The slow infusion adds layers of flavor without too much prep work.
Note: The browned butter can be made in advance, refrigerated, then reheated if need be.
Add the butter to a small pot and place over high heat so the butter browns. The butter will start to crackle; continue cooking over high heat until the crackling dies down and the butter has browned. Reduce to a simmer and add the thyme, shallot, and garlic. Simmer for 1 hour over low heat.
As the butter nears completion, place a pan (preferably a cast-iron grill pan, but any pan can work) over high heat. Add a dash of kosher salt to all the scallops on both sides. When the pan is heated, add some of the butter mixture and then immediately add the scallops. Let the scallops sit on the pan until completely browned on one side, typically 4-6 minutes depending on the size of the scallop. Resist the temptation to turn the scallop over before completely browned.
When the scallops are browned, turn over and cook on the other side for 1 minute. When finished, remove from the heat, drizzle additional butter sauce on top, and serve.