Fresh Grilled Scallops

Chef: America's Test Kitchen


  • 1 1/2pounds large dry sea scallops (10 to 20 per pound with small side muscles removed)
  • 8 - 12 12-inch metal skewers
  • Disposable 13- by 9-inch aluminum cake pan
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus extra for cooking grate
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges


Place scallops on rimmed baking sheet lined with clean kitchen towel. Place second clean kitchen towel on top of scallops and press gently on towel to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature, covered with towel, for 10 minutes. With scallops on flat work surface, thread onto doubled skewers so that flat sides will directly touch grill grate, 4 to 6 scallops per doubled skewer. Return skewered scallops to towel-lined baking sheet; refrigerate, covered with second towel, while preparing grill. a. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal (7 quarts, about 120 briquettes). Meanwhile, poke twelve ½-inch holes in bottom of disposable aluminum roasting pan and place in center of grill. When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour coals into pan. Loosely cover cooking grate with large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil; set cooking grate in place, cover, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. b. FOR A GAS GRILL: Loosely cover cooking grate with large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving 2-inch exposed border on each side of grate. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until very hot, about 15 minutes. Remove foil with tongs and discard. Clean grate. Lightly dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe grate, redipping towels in oil between applications, until grate is black and glossy, 5 to 10 times. While grill is heating, whisk oil, flour, cornstarch, and sugar together in small bowl. Remove towels from scallops. Brush both sides of skewered scallops with oil mixture and season with salt and pepper. Place skewered scallops directly over hot grate. Cook scallops with lid down over high heat without moving scallops until lightly browned, 2½ to 4 minutes. Carefully flip skewers and continue to cook until second side is browned, sides of scallops are firm, and centers are opaque, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and vinaigrette (if using). Serves four.