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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Recipe: Colossal Sea Scallops (Seared on Cast Iron)



Serves 2 and can be scaled to serve more. (Pair this with a ribeye steak and you got yourself surf-n-turf!)

scallops on cast iron

Colossal Sea Scallops


  • 4 colossal sea scallops, rinsed in cool water and gently dried
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

The following ingredients are used as the seasoning and a dash should be used of each. See the photos to get an idea about how much to add

  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Natural Cane (Raw) Sugar
  • Ground Cayenne Pepper
Seasoning for Sea Scallops – Raw Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper
Sea Scallops are resting with Seasoning


  1. Get some fresh Colossal Sea Scallops (more information below about selecting the right scallops).
  2. Remove the scallops from the refrigerator, unwrap them, rinse them in very cool tap water and let them drain on a fresh paper towel. Gently dry the scallops and set them on a plate, leaving space between each scallop.
  3. Assembly the dry ingredients for the seasoning. If you do not have any Natural Sugar, also called Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado, plain old white cane sugar will work just fine.
  4. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the plate of scallops and coat the scallops with the oil.
  5. Add a dash of each of the dry ingredients to each side of the scallops. Use the photo as a guide on how much to add.
  6. Cover the scallops with some plastic wrap. Let the scallops rest for about 20 minutes.
  7. Grab a beer or a cocktail – I had a Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale – this will help pass the time while you wait.
  8. Let the cast iron skillet heat up on medium heat for about 5 minutes. In this case, I used my Wagner 1056, just the right size for four scallops.
  9. Add some canola oil to the pan and tilt to coat the bottom of the skillet.
  10. Place the scallops on the pan and let them sit. Don’t try to slide them around or poke or prod the scallops to see if they are sticking. If you do, they will stick! Just let them be and develop a nice crust.
  11. After 90 seconds they should have a nice crust and will slightly pull back from the pan. When they do, go ahead and flip them over.
  12. Again, don’t try to see if they are sticking! Let them cook for 60 seconds if you prefer a slightly less done scallop and up to 2 minutes if you insist on having the more well done. I would suggest sticking to the 1 minute.
  13. Once then have finished up, remove them to the serving plate and enjoy after letting them rest for about 1-2 more minutes.
  14. Feel free to serve them a small wedge of lemon but I just like them straight up. If you have really fresh, high quality seafood, then you can just enjoy the natural sweet flavor.

Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet, 12-Inch


Want to cook more meals with your cast iron?

Selecting Quality Colossal Sea Scallops

This is really the key to this recipe and probably any other seafood recipe. Yes, I can confirm that if you have subpar quality seafood, the finished product isn’t going to be so good. The number one way to get high quality seafood, colossal sea scallops in the instance, is by going to a quality seafood counter.

A specialty seafood store with a real life fishmonger (or fishwife – that’s a lady fishmonger) is your best bet. They take pride in their products and won’t dispense less than perfect product. I found these scallops at Kathleen’s Catch, in metro Atlanta.

Kathleen does a great job there and I highly recommend checking out her shop. We have a couple of fine farmer’s markets in the area too and they would be great options as well.

More common would be a Whole Foods or Fresh Market and they certainly take care to provide great products as well. They both have a solid supply chain and serve very fresh seafood.

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Assist Handle Holder, 12", Red Silicone

Lastly, your local grocery store can potentially have some options for you but you’ll want to make sure it’s a store with a decent amount of fish moving out of their case. The fact is that most of the seafood, scallops included, will be frozen when they arrive at the store and that is just fine.

See the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet at Amazon.

If they thaw them properly and sell a reasonable amount of it, you can expect to find some decent quality scallops. I would say that if it’s your first try at scallops, get something that you can be assured is fresh, high quality, with a fresh ocean-like aroma, not like old fish.

Scallops will have a slightly sweet aroma too, and this will translate over to the flavor too. It does not always hold true but in many cases, in all aspects of living, you get what you pay for – don’t try to save money when you’re buying scallops.

In my area, that’s about $17-26/lb.

Is that expensive?

Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely.

The key takeaways are to go to a fine establishment to buy your scallops and don’t be afraid to shell out some cash to get a high quality product.

Get your hands on the best cast iron cookware for this recipe.

Have you made this recipe? If so, how did it turn out?

Do you have any suggestions to improve the recipe? Do you have another recipe that you recommend?

I want to know! Leave a comment below – I would love to hear your thoughts.

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