The secret to cooking scallops, besides finding the right ones, is simple: Sear them. This little guy is all muscle, like a tiny tenderloin. It's packed with amino acids and a substance called glycogen, which is a chemical combo that muscles use to store glucose. This substance browns up beautifully as long as it gets a high dose of heat from the right kind of surface. This recipe first appeared in Season 9 of Good Eats. Photo by Lynne Calamia
Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water, and thoroughly pat dry.
Add the butter and oil to a 12- to 14-inch saute pan set over high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops until they have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center, 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.