When I was first experimenting with cooking seafood, I was dependent on those freezer individual packs that you can buy for $2 at your local grocery store. Not surprisingly, I decided that I didn’t like cooking seafood. The scallops were the size of dimes and smelled like a dead goldfish.

It took years of talking to other cooks, both home and professional, to realize that the seafood I was making was not the gold standard by which to judge all home cooked seafood. Not surprising, the quality of ingredients is a huge contributing factor to the quality of cooking.

So when Michael Pruett told me one of his favorite flavor combinations was seared scallops, raisins and almonds, I was excited to have an excuse to buy some higher quality ingredients and become reacquainted with home cooked seafood.

For me, high quality ingredients means going to a smaller local chain store (for Madison dwellers, think Willy Street Coop, Metcalf’s or even Brennan’s) as opposed to going to a big chain store where I have reason to suspect they might have as high of a turnover with their fresh meat or seafood. When I get to said store, I use two important resources to help me make a decision: the person behind the counter and the price. Never be afraid to ask questions.  I have always found that the people behind the counter are friendly and super helpful. And when in doubt, buy less of the more expensive item.

Seared Scallops with Almonds and Raisins

Roasted Sliced Almonds

  1. Soak the raisins in warm water until they have been rehydrated.
  2. Heat oil in a saute or frying pan at medium high heat until oil is starting to let off wisps of smoke.
  3. Place scallops in the pan.
  4. Do not touch the pan.
  5. Do not let your husband touch the pan.
  6. Insist that your husband walks away from the pan.
  7. Keep an eye on your husband and guard the handle of the pan.
  8. Wait until the scallops release themselves from the pan (3-4 minutes). Shake the pan gently and the scallops will move freely when they are ready.
  9. Flip the scallops.
  10. Shoo your husband away from the pan again.
  11. Wait for it….
  12. After 1-2 minutes, the scallops will release again.
  13. Serve with raisins and almonds.

Recipe Review: Yum. The flavor of the scallop is the star here. The sweetness of the raisins and the saltiness of the almonds really complement the butteriness of the scallops. It’s also a great play on textures. We served this as a first course and this is definitely a dish to impress. Thanks for the great tip Michael!


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