Searing scallops is a simple matter that requires only a few techniques; after they're done perfectly, you can get creative with sauces.
Before you sear scallops, make sure they are very dry by patting off any moisture with paper towels. "Obviously, dry-packed scallops are the best," says LindaWhit, but if using injected or thawed scallops, "I've found that using lots of paper towels and letting the scallops sit to allow the moisture to leach out as well as it can also works."
Season the scallops with salt and pepper, or dredge lightly in seasoned flour. Heat a pan well, and sear in oil or clarified butter over medium-high heat until they're nicely browned, then turn. It's important not to overcook them or they will become rubbery; they only need a few minutes on each side and should be just opaque in the middle.
bushwickgirl offers a formula for a rich and tasty pan sauce that can "be altered to suit your taste; spicy, tangy, tart, whatever you like. Scallops are very flavor-friendly and go with many things." Here's how: After searing, remove scallops from pan, add wine or liquor of choice (she likes Pernod), a splash of heavy cream, herbs, a little spritz of citrus juice, and cold butter; reduce for a few minutes; serve. For a variation, CHOW's Seared Scallops with Lemon and Vodka ditches the Pernod in favor of vodka.
normalheightsfoodie reduces a combination of one cup each orange juice and pomegranate juice, a bit of sugar, and a bit of balsamic vinegar to a syrup. She places seared scallops atop wilted spinach and drizzles it on.