Fish/ Recipe

She’s Got Skillz: Pan-Seared Scallops

Good morning to you my loves!
So I’ve had to come to the conclusion – and the acceptance – of some very, very bad news this weekend. Some very bad news.
When I realized what had happened I refused to believe it. I just kept on keepin’ on like nothing was wrong. I opened the fridge, pulled out a bottle of Burrowing Owl Chardonnay and poured myself a great big glass full. And I knocked it back. Lather, rinse, repeat until the bottle was empty. But of course, as all wine does, it gave way to the pain. The god awful pain right in the center of me.
WTF?! What did I ever do to deserve this?? I’ve been nothing but kind to them since I was 17. Or was it 16? It’s hazy. A lot of it is. That happens as you get older. At 32 I can hardly remember my early 20’s. I’m sure age is to blame. Regardless, how could they do this to me?? I feel so angry right now! I love them… Loved them. Grrrrrrrr!!!!
golden scallops
A couple of weeks ago, on a dark, snowy night, I bargained with god and asked her to spare me. I promised I’d be good. That I would go easy for a while if she’d just make the pain go away. All I could think was, what if I hadn’t moved to Toronto? Would I still be going through all this? If only we could go back to the way it was before all this shit started. Then last night, I thought we’d come to a truce. For the first half of the evening everything was a-OK. I felt fine.
But of course, that bitch wasn’t listening. Either that or she’s got a terrible sense of humour. The pain returned. And so I fell into a deep depression. Even though I had just eaten a fabulous dinner in a restaurant full of people, I felt empty. Alone. What’s the point of anything? Of life? There was no joy. No laughter. Nothing. I didn’t want to go on. 
Then the light of day came this morning. I woke up and it didn’t hurt so much. Funny how daylight can do that to a girl. I was able to see things more clearly. I didn’t like it, but I accepted the reality. This new truth, my new norm. I said goodbye to my friend and released all the pain that was welling inside me. The blame. And the anger. And the frustration. It was worth it to feel okay. Or at least, to feel better more than I felt worse.
pan seared scallops
My dear friends, the bad news…was… I’ve developed an allergy. To alcohol.
I know – it’s a shock. I’ll give you a minute….. I know I needed one.
The allergy appears as raw, raging stomach pain. nausea. dizziness. It’s essentially alcohol poisoning. And it’s getting worse. I’m not going to stop drinking. I love my wine and bourbon way too much to do so. But I’ve gotta cut way, way back. And I’ve accepted that. I guess. Balls.
Something I’m not cutting way back on? Scallops. And if you call yourself a chef, home chef or just family cook, searing a scallop is something you just have to know how to do. Unless you don’t eat scallops, in which case, the rest of this post is probably a bit mute to you.
But seriously – when a scallop is done right, there’s nothing better than its buttery, soft flesh. Look for the freshest and largest ones you can find – they’re such a treat. And are ready to mow in less than 5 minutes…Unlike this post that’s rambled on and on and on. High quality protein, anyone?
Make sure they’re diver scallops (picked by hand) rather than dredged from the seabed which is an OceanWise no-no. You want to be happy with your scallops, make sure they’re harvested in a way that’s happy for the environment.

Pan-Seared Scallops

Yield 2 servings


  • 6 Large Dry Diver Scallops.
  • 2 Tbsp of Butter, unsalted.
  • Virgin Olive Oil.
  • Coarse Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.


  1. Drizzle a little oil in a medium sized pan and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. As that warms up, prepare your scallops. Remove the little flap of flesh on the side of each scallop - called the abductor muscle - and discard. Some scallops are sold with the muscle already removed. If so, lucky you. Pat dry with paper towels and season one side with a generous helping of salt and pepper.
  3. Once the oil is shimmering and very hot, place the scallops in the pan seasoned side down. Do NOT move them! Leave them alone. If you move them you will not get that great golden sear on the scallop. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Season the side facing you the same way you did the first, throw the butter in the pan and flip. Cook for one more minute.
  5. Be careful not to over cook them. When you pull them from the pan, you will still see just the slightest translucence on the side of the scallop, right in the center. It till finish cooking as you bring the plate to the table. Serve immediately with a big fat glass of chardonnay. Just a little bit.
  6. Eat.


What skills would you like to see in this series?


To see the first post in the skillz series – how to soft boil eggs – click here… and here for the chanterelle and leek risotto.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets
    February 26, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    Man I did not see that one coming. If it helps, I’ve been allergic since as long as I can remember. I just get hives, no pain so it hasn’t actually stopped me.

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 2, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      what’s up with that??? i wonder if an anti-histamine would help?

  • warmdirt
    February 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    say it isn’t so! my heart is broken for you. i hope your memories (however dim) of the glorious days–and nights!–you spent together can carry you through this difficult time.


    • Kristy Gardner
      March 2, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      crossing my little fingers my friend.

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    February 26, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Oh, friend! My heart breaks for you! I am deeply, deeply sorry for your loss.
    On another note, I have never even attempted making scallops at home. Must change this.

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 2, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      thank you lovely!!

      p.s. how have you not made scallops?! must. change. that.

  • kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts
    February 26, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    I’m sorry-allergies to anything you enjoy (or encounter in daily life) suck.
    Meantime, care to post about the skill of finding cheap scallops? Cuz yours look good, yet I can’t stomach the price.

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 2, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      fo sho!

      ….it’s true. scallops aren’t cheap. they’re a treat. especially fresh ones. we don’t eat too much meat at all in our household so i don’t mind splurging once a week or so for something really good.

  • thehealthyproject
    February 28, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    I wanted to pass on- The Artisan Soda Workshop- by Andrea Lynn.
    Beautiful satisfying cocktails without the booze. I got my copy from the library and I don’t want to give it back- I just started! Try the rosemary soda simple syrup – and then think about the hibsicus honey, blackberry lavender, lemongrass, seasalt & lime, and fresca (with grapefruit!). All homemade, easy to prepare with a bottle of pelligrino. These do not feel like the token coke for a designated driver drink. They are tonics, and lovely. Oh, and they pair well with bad movies of the week/beauty pageants/oscars, and/or delicious food.

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 2, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      I adore the crap out of you!!! and your mocktail! when i make this i’ll post for sure 🙂

  • France@beyondthepeel
    March 2, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    Allergic to alcohol!…OMFG. That blows. But I suspect something similar might be happening to me. Why? Why does it have to happen to the people that love it the most. It least there’s always scallops, and other wonderful foods to drown in!

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 2, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      i know, right! we must have done something terrible in a past life.