Before I began cooking I knew I had to figure out how I was going to go about cooking the scallops. I knew I was going to narrow down the cooking process to either pan searing the scallops or baking them. I could've (and most likely will come out with these recipes in the future) air fried them or even grilled them, but I wanted to keep it simple. In the end, I decided to pan sear them because I've always enjoyed getting them beautiful browned on a cast iron skillet. If you do not own a cast iron skillet, check out our favorite picks!
Now the question was, how do I ensure they come out perfectly tasty? I knew the most common problem with scallops is for them to come out all rubbery and dry, so then it hit me--utilize the brining process! Brining scallops in a salt solution really helps to season them on the inside while retaining moisture. This will not only ensure that they come out moist after a good sear, but if I ensured that the outsides are completely dry after brining them, I would also get them to become perfectly brown! A perfect balance in my eyes, and that is exactly what I tried, and it was amazing!
Side Dishes for Seared Scallops
The first side/complementary dish that comes to mind whenever I think of scallops is pasta. Next to that, I think of certain salads and mash potatoes. But why not take one of those and change it into something new? That is how we came up with pairing it with some Mashed Cauliflower. The unique flavors the cauliflower mixture brings with a similar texture to mashed potatoes, this actually came out to be the ideal side dish for this recipe in my eyes. Try it out, you'll love it, I guarantee it! Full recipe is down below.
Best Seared Scallop Recipe
Ingredients for the Scallops
- ⅓ Cup Kosher Salt
- 1 Cup Hot Water
- 4 Cups Ice Cubes
- 1 lb Scallops
- 2 tsps Loubier Gourmet Italian Topper
- 2 tbsps Unsalted Butter
- 2 tbsps Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 2 tbsps Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Lemon Zest
- 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 tbsps Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp Chopped Dill
- Pepper to Taste
Ingredients for the Mashed Cauliflower
- 1 Head Cauliflower
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Minced Garlic Cloves
- 2 tbsps Unsalted Butter
- 2 tbsps Finely Chopped Herbs (We used Rosemary and Thyme)
- 2 tbsps Heavy Cream
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
You want to start with brining tour scallops. This will enhance their flavor, texture, and moisture resulting in richer and juicier scallops. To do this you will need to combine salt and hot water in a medium bowl, stir it until most of the salt has dissolved, and then you add your ice cubes. Once the water is cold, you add your scallops and wait for 10 minutes.
Once the brine has been completed, you want to drain and rinse your scallops, and pat them dry with paper towels. Remember, the drier the scallops the better they will sear. If you have already prepped everything else, remember to let your scallops sit at room temperature for around 10 minutes before you cook them, but if you still have to prep the rest of the dish, place them in the fridge on an oven rack.
At this point I decided to start my mashed cauliflower. You want to start by trimming the leaves of the cauliflower and cutting off the florets. Make sure to rinse them under water.
Heat up 1-inch of water in a pot on medium heat and bring it to a boil. I used a steamer insert and placed my cauliflower on that. Steam to 5-10 minutes.
While your cauliflower is steaming, heat a small pan to medium heat, add olive oil, and your minced garlic, and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Do not burn the garlic, keep them moving if you have to.
Once your cauliflower has finished steaming, remove the water and steamer (if you used one) and add in your olive oil garlic mixture, your finely chopped herbs, butter, heavy cream, and salt & pepper to taste.
Use a potato masher, handheld stick blender, or regular blender to mash the cauliflower. I used both a potato masher and regular blender to reach the consistency that I wanted.
Now that your mashed cauliflower is ready, all that is left are your scallops! Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, and once hot, add in your lightly seasoned scallops. Pan sear until golden brown on the surface. Try not to move them while they are searing, give them around 3 minutes.
Once the second side of the scallops are searing, add in your butter and allow it to melt. Begin to baste them by tilting the pan (if needed) and using a spoon to pour the butter over your scallops repeatedly. Continue this until they are cooked and tender, then transfer the scallops to a clean plate.
In the same pan, over medium-low heat, add in minced garlic and sautée for 30 seconds to a minute not letting it burn. Add in your lemon juice and zest, you want to deglaze your pan so scrape the pan to remove any stuck brown bits and mix them with your mixture. Let this cook for a minute or so.
Turn off the heat and add in your dijon mustard and heavy cream, chopped dill, and Loubier Gourmet Italian Topper Seasoning. Mix them all together and add salt & pepper to taste.
Add your scallops back into the pan, and warm them if you need to. Serve with your mashed cauliflower, and…