CHEF DEZ: Scallops minus the anxiety

Simple way to prep tasty scallops in sage brown butter

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. This recipe for scallops is the perfect example.

However, when I say “simple” that means very few ingredients and fast to prepare. Some people, however, may feel some anxiety when contemplating cooking scallops.

Let’s be honest, scallops aren’t cheap, and thus you don’t want to mess them up. Probably the biggest mistake made when preparing scallops is overcooking them. Your best plan of execution is a hot pan and a fast cooking process, so you still get the desired browning without overcooking them.

This recipe is unique because it pairs scallops with an herb that is usually reserved for the bread stuffing in a holiday turkey: sage. Sage with seafood? Trust me this works. Especially in the browned butter sauce in this recipe, which I will explain.

However, I first want to mention that this recipe is not the place for dried sage. This must be fresh. The hot cooking of the butter releases all the beautiful fragrant essential oils from the fresh sage and results in a wonderful experience for your senses.

A brown butter sauce is probably one of the easiest sauces to make, because all you do is add cubes of salted butter to a hot pan. “But won’t the butter burn?” you may be thinking. Well, it could if you left it in their too long. Let me explain.

The old standby belief that butter will burn at high temperatures is true, and that is because of the milk solids in the butter. However, with “brown” butter (not “burnt” butter), the butter is taken out of the pan just when it starts to brown, before it gets to the burnt stage. The result is a wonderfully complex tasting sauce.

Just follow the rule: cold cubes of butter into a hot pan and swirl around until just starting to brown, then remove from the pan immediately (the pan will still be hot after removed from the stovetop, so burning could still happen even if the pan is not on the heat). Having the butter cold from the refrigerator will help to keep the butter from browning too quickly.

To make this even easier for you, a full video of this exact recipe preparation is available for you to watch on my YouTube channel.

Pan Seared Sage Scallops

“The essential oils released from the fresh sage in this sauce make these scallops to die for”

  • 12 large scallops
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 – 2 tsp grape-seed oil or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed into Tbsp pieces
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

Preheat a heavy bottomed medium/large pan over medium-high heat until it is very hot.

Pat dry the scallops and season them on both sides with salt & pepper.

Add the oil to the pan and then immediately add the scallops one or two at a time. Cook in the hot pan for about 30 seconds to a minute on the one side until they are seared/browned.

Flip them over, cook for another 30 seconds, then add the butter pieces one or two at a time until it has all been added. The butter will brown very quickly and immediately add the sage, stir and coat the scallops with the infused brown butter sauce and serve immediately.

Chef Dez is a Chef, Writer, & Host. Visit him at www.chefdez.com

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