Scallops are by far my favorite shellfish and the best way to eat them is seared and rare in the middle. A couple of seconds on a hot pan on each side to get a nice golden brown crust will give you the best tasting scallops. There are a couple of ways to get a well cooked scallop. The first is to pat them dry to remove any excess liquid because the liquid that purges out from the scallop causes the pan to cool down too much. The other option, and my favorite, is to brine them. The brine will not only impart different flavors but will also pull out some of that extra liquid that might purge during the cooking process. Scallops only require to brine for a relatively short period of time of 10 minutes.
- 10oz Kosher salt
- 12oz Brown sugar
- 20C Water
- 1ea Sachet
2ea Garlic cloves
2ea sprigs thyme
2ea sprigs oregano
2ea bay leaves
Once all of your ingredients are together combine, them into a pot and bring to a boil. Scallops are naturally sweet therefore the brown sugar will add more of a molasses flavor and the herbs will help balance the sweetness.
Once the brine boils, cool it to room temperature; a quick way to do this, if you need the brine right away, is to leave half the water out and substitute it for ice after it boils. Clean the scallops of their “feet”, the mussel that holds them in their shell, and place them in a plastic bowl. Pour the brine over the scallops until they are just covered.
Set the timer for 15 minutes and prepare a tray with paper towels or lint free kitchen towels. Once the time is up, remove the scallops from the brine and place them on the tray to dry. The air drying process takes 30 minutes depending on how dry the air is. If it is humid, place them in the refrigerator, whichever way you choose you are looking for a pellicle to develop.
I placed the scallops on a cooling rack with towels, these have just been pulled from the brine and still have some sheen.