For a Gourmet Club diner last night I was assigned a recipe for sea scallops on a bed of wilted spinach. Other flavors were a cream sauce on top of it all with Calvados, unfiltered cider, shallots and garlic and of course heavy cream.
This was a dinner for 10 and I really did not feel like breaking the bank at the seafood shop for diver scallops at about $29.99/lb. My grocer had a special on the sea scallops with their affinity card for $9.99/lb. That is what I bought on Friday. When I got them home I put them in a colander to defrost and drain. Then put them in the colander over a bowl in the refrigerator to continue to drain until last night. I had to cook them at the hosts house and I thought I had indicated to my husband to bring along my 14" cast iron skillet but after arriving saw that the skillet I indicated was the 10" so I needed to use 2 skillets. My host pulled out a large stainless steel All-Clad skillet. I put both skillets on at the same temperature and divided the scallops which had just been salted and peppered into the skillets that had been coated with vegetable oil. The scallops that were in the cast iron skillet browned and crusted beautifully. The scallops in the stainless steel paled (ha ha) in comparison. We did a quick switch of skillets half way through so all were nicely browned.
Frankly I was surprised. I was almost sure you could not get those treated scallops to brown. But they did and the flavor was delicious. This does not mean that I won't buy the more expensive diver/day boat scallops, but it is sure nice to find that grocery store scallops can be browned and delicious if you have enough time to devote to draining and drying and have a good cast iron skillet.
Unfortunately we were too busy cooking to get a photo this time.