ALa Grecque Marinade for scallops:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons anisette, ouzo or other licorice flavored liqueur
1 1/4 tablespooons dried tarragon
2 1/4 tablespoons dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon crushed or pressed (fresh) garlic
1/2 tablespoon anise seed or fennel seed
zest and juice of 1/2 medium lemon
Mix together in advance and let sit several hours (overnight is best)
To cook scallops:
Use a LARGE nonstick fry pan (or 2 medium/large) because you want lots of room for the scallops so they will brown nicely. And you will need plenty of heat for browning as well. Mix marinade well and measure out 1 cup. Fold this into scallops, making sure every scallop is well seasoned. Put fry pan(s) on high heat (if using a large electric burner you may need to go one setting less than high). As soon as you see the slightest puff of smoke, add scallops in marinade (be careful they don’t flame up from the anisette (have a cover handy and clamp it on tightly for a moment if they do). Immediately shake the pan to coat all the scallops with marinade then immediately separate the scallops with a fork. Let them sit without turning or moving for about 5 or 10 seconds. Turn one scallop over and see if it is getting nicely browned. If so, turn heat down to low and turn scallops over individually (and quickly). After each scallop is turned shake the pan around a few times and the marinade reduction will cling to the scallops, giving you that bronzed effect you are looking for. Remove pan from heat and serve immediately. If your scallops are small you will need to do each step more quickly and turn heat off as soon as you have browned one side of scallops. If your scallops are very large, you may want to turn heat down and cook an extra minute or so before final shaking of pan, depending on desired doneness. This dish is best if scallops are a bit rare on the inside when plated. Serve over rice or pasta with extra lemon and a green salad.
** (At this point you really need to be sure your pan is hot enough, but not TOO hot. The scallops should be sizzling briskly but not ferociously and should not turn black. Remove pan from heat immediately if they are blackening. This is the only tricky part of this recipe and I can’t tell you exactly how YOUR stove will cook them so be careful and use your judgement. You are looking for a finished product that is glossy and mahogany brown.