Scallops are a tricky thing to master. They’re incredibly delicate, so the amount of heat used is important and the timing is absolutely key, and they’re shellfish, so they have elements from the sea that play into the chemistry of their cooking. The perfectly cooked scallop is one that has a golden brown crust on the outside, and a tender, succulent texture on the inside, but because of the factors outlined above, it’s not always easy to attain this result.
Recently, I cooked with chef Didier Montarou of InterContinental Hotel Boston for the resort’s Kitchen Passport Program, during which we developed recipes for their iPad cookbook. The first recipe we came up with was honey-glazed scallops. As I had struggled with cooking scallops in the past, I was excited to learn from the talented chef. For our recipe, we used ingredients that were native to our setting — scallops because we were in Boston and honey because the hotel had its own bee farm on the roof. First, we seasoned and seared the scallops over high heat, and then we removed them from the pan and created a rich, easy honey glaze to finish them in.
Our recipe was delicious, but it wouldn’t have been anything to marvel at unless those scallops were cooked to perfection like they were. Along with an innovative and unique recipe (which included a parsnip purée and tempura-fried Brussels sprouts), I took away some key things to remember when cooking scallops, which will help you attain the perfectly cooked scallop.
Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce