Fish, on the other hand, has always left me kind of ... meh.
The first time I knew fish could be something other than Long John Silvers or fish sticks was when I went to work in a Japanese restaurant and discovered the nom! nom! deliciousness of sushi. At the restaurant I'd see people order the scallops and I thought: looks like fish wheels. Who cares?
But THEN I discovered America's Test Kitchen on TV. They made some pan-seared sea scallops that actually looked like they might taste like something other than rubber bands. Know what? I was right.
I went to their web site and checked out the recipe (for free). The thing I love about this site is that they tell you exactly how they did it, including the little tricks that turn an OK dish into an amazing one. They've tried half a hundred recipes and techniques and found that this is the one that rocks in your kitchen.
We found that waiting to add the scallops to the skillet until the oil was beginning to smoke, cooking the scallops in two batches instead of one, and switching to a nonstick skillet (so that the browned bits formed a crust on the meat instead of sticking to the skillet) were all steps in the right direction.
But it wasn’t until we tried a common restaurant technique—butter basting—that our scallops really improved. We seared the scallops in oil on one side and added butter to the skillet after flipping them. (Butter contains milk proteins and sugars that brown rapidly when heated.) We then used a large spoon to ladle the foaming butter over the scallops. Waiting to add the butter ensured that it had just enough time to work its browning magic on the scallops, but not enough time to burn. (America's Test Kitchen)
I've made these scallops 3 times now and each time it was spot on -- it actually looked like this picture. And the taste? Amazing. I am now a pan-seared scallop lovin' fool.
Check it out.