A perfectly cooked scallop is a wonderful thing. Just crispy on each end, cuts like butter and melts in your mouth. A perfectly cooked scallop is hard to come by, even in upscale restaurants. I have had them in many restaurants, as a main course, on top of salad, mixed in with pasta, even grilled. I have only two memories of receiving perfectly cooked scallops in a restaurant, one of which I’d have to cross the Atlantic to get.
I was so excited when I realized I was going to learn to cook scallops at school. The cooking process really isn’t difficult at all, it’s just the timing. I would imagine the timing of scallops is even more difficult in a restaurant when there are five other dishes going to the same table. As with any other cooked food, it will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat. So your scallop may be perfectly cooked, but if it’s left sitting for too long it will become chewy.
Oh but a perfectly cooked scallop has that nice slight crunch to balance the smooth middle. It glides across your teeth and tongue, imparting salty, ocean-y, butter-y flavor to every taste bud it encounters. I could stand at my stove all night, lightly searing scallops and popping them in my mouth the second they come off the heat. I sort of did just that when preparing this post. I don’t even remember how many I ate at the stove before (and during) plating and photographing.
Scallops, like most seafood, are expensive at restaurants. A normal entree will have three or five scallops. They are also expensive at the market, but not nearly as expensive as when dining out, so I got a pound! I felt so glutinous buying them, but I also felt entitled. I had the opportunity to make for myself a gourmet meal that might not even be satisfying at a restaurant. My dinner that night was very satisfying, and my belly happy. Really, I did it for my education. You see, finals were the next day. I needed to be well fed and rested in preparation. Scallops were one of my final dishes, so I was also studying. Oh yes, I could justify eating a pound of scallops any day.
I made asparagus and beurre blanc to go with them. Asparagus is one of my favorite foods, and beurre blanc is a classic French sauce that will compliment most seafood. Its butter and wine, where could you go wrong?
This is a great dish to show off your cooking skill at a dinner party, impress your significant other with a romantic home-cooked dinner, or just to indulge at home on a Tuesday night.