Mise en place: sea scallops, fully cooked bacon and paprika. Toothpicks will secure the bacon to the scallops. Note that I have covered the plate with plastic wrap. After I remove the wrap, the cooked scallops will go back to the clean plate.
My daughter, Kelley, took a picture of me sprinkling a bit of paprika on one side of the scallops. These then go into the pan, paprika side up.
Olive oil is heated in the pan over high heat. The scallops are then seared.
The first side of the scallops have been seared. This happens very quickly and this is not the time to wander off from the pan.
The finished dish. The scallops have been nicely carmelized on both sides and are just cooked through. Perhaps the most difficult part of cooking seafood is learning to not over-cook it. I have found that scallops are at their best when they are just done. Unfortunately, this is something you can only learn by doing. A perfectly cooked scallop is slightly sweet and firm and just opaque. Cook it too far and it becomes tough and is completely opaque.
Okay, what happened to the scallops? Guess they were that good.
Funny story: a couple of years ago I had made scallops for my family and we were enjoying them when I bit into something hard. It turned out to be an intact clam shell, sans clam. Apparently, at some time in the life of the scallop, it had crossed paths with the clam. I would say that the clam lost, but then again, ultimately the scallop did too. That means I won!
Living in Southern Indiana does make it difficult to come across good seafood. Fortunately, the selection available here is much greater than when I was a child. I honestly grew up believing that fish was battered and square. It is a matter of searching out the best sources in your area. Scallops should smell sweet and fresh like the ocean when the package is opened.
Sources: scallops are from Schwan's and bacon is Hormel Black Label Fully Cooked Bacon.