Seared scallops make for a fast, tasty and healthy dinner. They are sweet, meaty, and tender. They are fast enough for a quick weeknight dinner and elegant enough for dinner guests.
Last night I simply seared the scallops in a hot non-stick pan with a little oil, then glazed them with Hoisin Sauce. It took maybe 10 minutes. It's nice served with asparagus.
How to Buy Scallops
I buy medium to big ones, which can be anywhere from 1-2 ounces each. You need is 4-5 ounces per person.
Look for “dry” or “chemical free” scallops. Ask if they have been treated with a phosphate solution. Treated scallops absorb water. A brilliant white color is a giveaway. You pay for water weight and they don’t taste as good or brown as well.
Scallops should smell like the ocean, fresh and clean, not strong or fishy. If you want scallops to cook at about the same time and look nice on a plate, have the person at the fish counter pick them out carefully and individually. Watch them so you get what you want and don’t be afraid of telling them which ones you want.
How to Sear Scallops
To sear scallops, pat them dry and season with a little salt and pepper. Most importantly don’t overcook them! Overcooked scallops are rubbery, not tender. They should be still barely translucent in the center, and they cook very quickly.
How to Serve
Hoisin glazed scallops can be served on brown rice, or try black Chinese “Forbidden” rice., noodles (especially Asian varieties) or zucchini noodles. For a no-grain option, serve simply over vegetables.
Asparagus is a nice compliment to the seared scallops. Steam spears or roast in a hot oven for just a few minutes. Stir-frying is another good option. Finish asparagus with a few drops of nutty sesame oil and for flair add a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
About Hoisin Sauce
If you are not familiar with Hoisin, it is a classic Chinese sauce with a strong sweet-salty flavor. If you’ve ever ordered Moo Shu in a Chinese restaurant, it’s served with Hoisin.
Hoisin has a beautiful, deep purple-black color. Hoisin can be used as grilling sauce (great for ribs, chicken and jumbo shrimp) and as a dipping sauce. I’ve made vinaigrettes and marinades with Hoisin.
if you'd rather buy it, read your labels and find an organic Hoisin. Whole Foods 365 brand makes one. The ingredients are much better than the standard stuff in the Asian aisle which contain caramel coloring and food dye Red No. 40, both best to stay away from.
Seared Scallops with Hoisin Glaze
- Non-stick pan with lid
- 1 pound large, dry sea scallops
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin coconut oil
- 2-3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- If scallops are refrigerated, allow them to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. If the small side muscle (abductor) is still attached, pinch it off. It is tough to eat. Season scallops with a little salt and pepper.
- Add oil to a non-stick sauté or fry pan over medium to medium-high heat. When pan is hot place scallops in pan flat side down. Don’t crowd them. Leave scallops alone and don’t move them for a few minutes. The edges will start to get brown. You are aiming for a golden crust. Turn scallops over, turn heat down, and using a spoon or pastry brush glaze with the Hoisin. Cover and cook 1 more minute. Do not over cook them. They will be a little translucent looking in the middle, don't worry. Serve immediately.