Preparing scallops can be intimidating since they cost a bit more than other proteins you find in the grocery store; seafood in general is a little scary at first. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to cook it all the time!
The method for making the perfect scallops is simple: Start by drying off the scallops – this will help you get that beautiful browned, crispy sear on the scallops that we all know and love. If the scallops are damp, they’ll end up steaming rather than searing. Once dried, season them with a good amount of salt and pepper. Get the olive oil nice and hot in the pan – also important for achieving that sear – and throw them in the pan. Give each of the scallops a little space to cook and let them hang out in the pan until the bottom has a beautiful browned crust (takes 2 to 3 minutes), then flip (don’t fuss, my friend).
You’ll then dip them each in a mixture of crushed pistachios and lemon zest until they’re lightly dusted. And at that moment, you should dive in (pun intended). The scallops will be tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth and have that nutty crunch from the pistachios, crispy bits from the sear and a hint of lemon. These pistachio-crusted scallops are perfect.
Pistachio Crusted Scallops
- ½ cup shelled pistachios
- Zest of 1 medium lemon
- ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-pound sea or diver scallops, cleaned and dried
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the pistachios in a small food processor; pulse until they resemble crumbs. Transfer the pistachio crumbs to a shallow dish and stir in the lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the scallops on all sides with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Add the scallops to the skillet and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes or until browned, then flip and cook on the other side, about 1 to 2 minutes or until the scallops are slightly firm.
- Use tongs to transfer the scallops to the dish with the pistachio crust; turn and toss the scallops until they are coated on all sides. Serve immediately.
Cooking Tip: Be sure the oil is hot before adding the scallops to the pan; this will ensure a browned, crisp crust. Also, don’t prematurely flip the scallops; wait until they have a thick brown crust before turning. They only need to cook about 5 minutes total; overcooked scallops are tough and rubbery; perfectly cooked scallops are tender and juicy.