1-1/4lbsdry sea scallops, 16 to 20 per lb - see notes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2clovesgarlic, very finely chopped
2tablespoonsdry white wine
2tablespoonsfreshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside. Assemble the rest of the ingredients near the stove so you can work as quickly as possible.
Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter and, as soon as the butter begins to foam, add the scallops in a single layer. Work in two batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Depending on their size, sear the scallops for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side, transferring them to a plate, one by one as they cook through. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.
Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan, heat until foamy, then add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in the lemon juice, zest and any juices that have accumulated on the plate with the scallops.
Combine well, stir in the cream and the last tablespoon of butter. Remove from the heat as soon as the butter is melted.
To serve, plate the scallops and drizzle with sauce.
Tips for Making This Recipe
About the scallops:
The word "dry," when referring to scallops, means that they have not been soaked in the brine-like solution often used to help prevent them from losing their natural moisture. If not clearly marked, ask your fishmonger if the scallops you're buying are "wet" or "dry."Use only the "dry" variety in this recipe as you will not be able to sear the "wet" type properly.Be sure that you work quickly with the scallops and don't overcook them. You are looking for just a little golden-brown color around the edges and a creamy colored, slightly translucent center.