Friday, May 7, 2010


Scallops are like sweet little pillows of seafood goodness. Peter asks me to make scallops for dinner probably four times a week, no joke. I love them too, but not as much as he does. Anyway, yesterday I went to the store with the intention of buying scallops but they happened to have red snapper (which they never have), so I decided to do a little of both.

One thing I've learned about cooking scallops is that clarified butter is hands down the best way to do it. I never used to cook them this way because I assumed clarified butter was some fancy, difficult thing to make...but it's ridiculously easy and really makes a huge difference. Here's Emeril's explanation of why it's so wonderful:

What makes clarified butter so great is its higher smoke point. This means you can cook meats and fish at a higher temperature than you can with regular butter, making it ideal for pan-frying. By clarifying the butter during a slow cooking process, you're able to strain out the milk solids that burn quickly as well as the water and salt. You'll lose about 1/4 of your original butter amount during the process, and the clarified butter will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator for about 1 month.

To make clarified butter, you can either make a bunch and save what you don't need to cook with immediately, or just make enough for what you need at that moment which is what I do. So put your butter into a skillet (or a small saucepan if you're making a lot). I used a little less than a tablespoon to make 8 scallops in a small skillet.

Let all of the butter melt and get nice and bubbly:

Then tilt the pan and scrape off the white bubbly part with a spoon.

And that's it! Keep the yellow liquidy part of the butter, and that's your clarified butter. If you make a lot of clarified butter you'll probably find that some of the milk solids form in the bottom of the pan - get rid of those, too. Now, for cooking the scallops - salt and pepper them and add them to the pan over medium heat. Be careful not to crowd them. Don't touch or move them once they're in the pan - keeping them in the same spot will help give them a nice brown crust. Watch for that crust to start to form on the bottom, it will take a few minutes. Then you can flip them over. You can see it starting on the bottom here:

When flipping them make sure you have a nice thin spatula so you can really scrape underneath the scallops without tearing them, because even with the clarified butter they will still stick a little bit.

And that's it! Aren't they pretty?

1 comment:

  1. I am with Peter, I love scallops- I order them whenever they are on the menu. Yours looks great, Katherine.