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Scallops with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

Seared Garlic Lemon Scallops

Scallops can be a polarizing seafood in my house. My husband is leery of the texture, having grown up on tough flavorless nuggets, thoughtlessly tossed too long in a pan. For me they're one of the crown jewels, a deep brown sear on the outside, tender and sweet on the inside. This recipe made him a convert, and if you're on the fence about this treasure I'm betting it might make you a believer too. 

Removing the water from scallops is the first step. Place some paper towels on a baking sheet, lay the scallops out single file, and cover them with another paper towel, pushing gently but firmly down on them. Leave them to sit in the paper towel sandwich for 10 minutes or so, as the excess moisture is slowly wicked away.

Next, pull out the largest frying pan you have- scallops don't like to be crowded. After heating the oil over a medium-high heat, the hardest part of searing scallops is waiting a full 3 minutes for each side to brown without moving them. This will allow a nice carmelized crust to form, but 3 minutes when you're standing over a pan can seem like an eternity! Trust us and don't cut this one step short.

This is an endlessly flexible recipe. Garlic, lemon and herbs can be replaced with curry powder, red chili powder and coconut milk, or white wine, tarragon and shallots. The list goes on, as scallops offer a wonderfully sweeet, neutral flavor that works well with anything your imagination can dream up.

Serve these on a simple bed of greens, sauteed spinach, mashed potatoes, rice or your favorite pasta. Deliciousness ready in under 20 minutes!

Scallops with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

(Serves 4)

    For the Scallops:
    • 2 lbs. fresh sea scallops, patted dry (see above)
    • 4 T. unsalted butter
    • 2 T. olive oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
    • 1 t. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
    • 1 c. chopped fresh dill leaves (or basil, chives, oregano)
    • Salt & Pepper

     Preparation:

    1. Dry the scallops, then remove the paper towels and salt & pepper both sides of the scallops.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick frying pan over a medium high heat, until shimmering.
    3. Add the scallops one at a time, and let them sit without moving for 3 minutes, then flip.
    4. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and 3 T. of the butter, stirring until the garlic is fragrant, but don't move the scallops as they need to brown on the 2nd side. 
    5. After 3 minutes, drizzle with lemon juice and zest, and half of the herbs, then give a gentle toss to combine.
    6. Remove the scallops to a serving platter or plate, swirl the last tablespoon of butter into the pan sauce, stirring for another minute, and dress the scallops with the sauce.
    7. Sprinkle with the remaining fresh herbs.

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