This is a really simple recipe (so simple in fact that I'm hesitant to call it a "recipe"). These were too amazing not to post though. Besides, sometimes a little salt and pepper and a quick sear is all food needs to be delicious! Scallops are a real treat for us. We never buy them and were fortunate to be given this batch. I have never seared scallops but have had them many times in restaurants and always love them so I wanted to see if I could replicate the taste at home. I think these actually came pretty close! The outside of the scallops developed a nice crust and the inside was very tender. It's important not to crowd the pan while searing so if your pan isn't big enough to sear all of the scallops at once, do them in batches as the recipe suggests.
from Cook's Illustrated
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops, about 30 to a pound, small side muscles removed
table salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
Sprinkle scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add half the butter; swirl to coat bottom. Continue to heat pan until butter begins to turn golden brown. Add half the scallops, one at a time, flat side down; cook, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent fat from burning, until scallops are well browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn scallops, one at a time; cook until medium-rare (sides firmed up and all but middle third of scallop opaque), 30 seconds to 1 1/2 minutes longer, depending on size. Repeat cooking process using remaining half of butter and scallops. Serve immediately.
Note: This times in the recipe are designed for scallops that are about the size of marshmallows. Cooking times for smaller or larger scallops should be adjusted slightly as appropriate.