If you are serving scallops as a first course or as part of a multicourse dinner, serve a single very large scallop for a stunning presentation. If you are serving the scallops as the main course, make them in White Wine– Herb Sauce.
– 16 large sea scallops for main courses; 18 small sea scallops, or 6 very large sea scallops, for first courses.
– 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil.
– Salt, preferably fleur de sel.
Step 1:Don’t season the scallops with salt and pepper ahead of time, because the salt will draw out their liquid and the flavor of the pepper will be destroyed by the heat. Pat the scallops perfectly dry.
Step 2:Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until the oil smokes. Add 1 or 2 scallops, wait for about 30 seconds, and then add 2 more scallops. Continue in this way until the first scallops you added are well browned on one side. This should take 2 to 3 minutes. Then begin to turn the scallops, starting with those that are browned and turning 1 or 2 at a time. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on the second side, or until all the scallops have a brown crust on both sides. Remove from the pan, and place on a paper towel– covered plate to absorb the excess oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve on warmed plates. If you have fleur de sel, put a tiny pinch of it in the center of each scallop.