Seared Scallops with Orange-Lime Dressing

We make sure our scallops are really dry before browning them in batches to give them a perfect golden crust.

Seared Scallops with Orange-Lime Dressing
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Seared scallops make for an ideal quick meal, as they cook in just a few minutes on the stovetop and have a mild flavor that works well with a wide variety of other ingredients. For this dish, we decided to punch up the scallops’ mellow sweetness with a bold vinaigrette made with citrus, cilantro, and red pepper flakes. When searing the scallops, we found that trying to cook them all at once made the pan too crowded and caused them to steam. We found that waiting to add the scallops to the skillet until the oil was beginning to smoke, cooking the scallops in two batches instead of one, and switching to a nonstick skillet allowed them all to achieve a deep golden-brown crust. Sweet, bright, and tangy, these scallops are the perfect centerpiece for a light meal—even on a busy weeknight. Be sure to purchase dry scallops for this recipe. If you can find only wet scallops, or if your scallops are not labeled, see here for more information on buying scallops.

1½ pounds large sea scallops, tendons removed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

1. Place scallops in rimmed baking sheet lined with clean kitchen towel. Place second clean kitchen towel on top of scallops and press gently on towel to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature, covered with towel, for 10 minutes.
2. Whisk ¼ cup oil, orange juice, lime juice, shallot, cilantro, and pepper flakes together in bowl. Season with salt to taste and set aside for serving.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of scallops to skillet in single layer and cook, without moving them, until well browned on first side, about 1½ minutes. Flip scallops and continue to cook, without moving them, until well browned on second side, about 1½ minutes. Transfer scallops to serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining scallops. Whisk dressing to recombine and serve with scallops.