It's officially summer. So it's either too nice to spend all day in the kitchen or it's too damn hot out to turn on the stove and heat up your place. What's a guy to do? Make a quick-cooking protein like seared sea scallops, then add a few fresh, seasonal ingredients to round it out. A delicious and impressive meal for a date or important dinner, beautifully browned scallops are easier to master than you might think. It all comes down to technique. You want to make sure your scallops are dry, so blot both sides with a paper towel before searing. Season with a little salt and pepper, and once they're in the pan, leave them be. This will yield that restaurant-quality caramelized crust that will separate your scallops from the uninitiated.
Salt and pepper
8 sea scallops
4 ears of corn, cut off cob
Red bell pepper, chopped
Sweet onion, chopped
Fresh or dried thyme, minced
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over high heat and add the corn and bell pepper with a hearty pinch of salt and pepper. After three minutes, turn down the heat to medium-high and add onions and thyme.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom of pan to pull up any brown bits. Cook for another minute, then add the butter. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Still over a medium-high heat, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Sear the scallops by placing them into the hot oil and not disturbing them for at least two minutes. Check the underside by peeking underneath. If it's browned and the scallops release easily, flip them over and cook for one minute more.
Spoon a serving of the caramelized corn mixture onto the plate and top with four scallops, finishing the dish with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and chopped scallions.