Seared Lemon-Herb Scallops
- 1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably peanut
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pats
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 heaping tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 200°.
- Rinse scallops briefly under cold water. If you feel a small, tough "stap" muscle attached to the sides of any of them, remove and discard. Arrange cleaned scallops on a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry thoroughly.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Dust scallops on both flat sides with paprika.
- When oil shimmers, add scallops, being sure not to crowd the pan. There should be about 1/2 inch space between scallops. (If necessary, cook scallops in batches, keeping cooked scallops warm in oven.)
- Sear scallops until one side is nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes or so. Using tongs, turn and sear until second side is browned and scallops feel somewhat firm to touch, another 2 minutes or so. Transfer scallops to warm oven and sear any remaining scallops, if necessary.
- Return pan to medium-high heat and add lemon juice. Boil to reduce by about half, less than 1 minute.
- Pour in cream and boil, stirring occasionally to reduce to a couple of tablespoons, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, whisking gently but constantly to incorporate butter evenly.
- Stir in herbs and capers.
- Return scallops to pan to warm through, taking care not to let sauce boil. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or with rolls to sop up every last drop of the sauce.
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