Alton Brown is one of my celebrity chef idols. He's obviously very knowledgeable and pretty damn crafty in the kitchen; the guy makes smokers out of flower pots and a coffee hotplate... That being said, we watch Good Eats on the reg and our DVR is backlogged with many episodes. Recently there was an episode which plays on the film Jaws. If you've seen the show, I don't need to tell you that it involved a very corny acting job between Alton and the deranged captain of the ship. Alton will always seize the opportunity to do some acting - see the "Oh My, Meat Pie" episode for the most ridiculous Sweeny Todd=ified example of this. Anyhow, Scallops were the featured ingredient and the way Alton prepared them seemed just too easy considering that sea scallops are usually found in upscale restaurants and dishes featuring them usually reach the $30-$40 range. By the way, these dishes almost always feature 4 or 5 of these little morsels.
So when I hit up the Farmer's Market the other day, I couldn't help but notice some beautiful specimen in their always promising seafood section. They have fresh, dry (meaning no chemical additives) sea scallops for what I would consider a bargain. I bought eight large ones for just over nine bucks.
All Alton did was dry off the scallops, apply salt and a little pepper, and sear each side for one and a half minutes. I would advise that you make sure your searing solution (equal parts olive oil and butter) is not too deep as the scallops won't truly get a crispy, carmalized edge but other than that, Alton's technique is fail-proof and you can acheive these strata of doneness:
I love how he says, "Pert near raw."
Scallops really exemplify the idea that the dishes you make are only as good as the ingredients you put into them. There isnt a whole lot to making them but with fresh scallops you can be paid off in their naturally sweet and savory flavors and soft, lush texture. Bon Appetit!