Seared Scallops with Lemon and Black Pepper
3 slices bacon (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops, muscle removed (see note)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon pieces until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Reserve the rendered bacon fat.
Arrange the scallops so they lay flat and are evenly spaced on a flat plate or large pie pan. Pat them completely dry with a paper towel. Heat the bacon fat in a large skillet over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper to taste. When the fat is hot, invert the plate of scallops over the skillet so the scallops fall into the pan all at once. Sear the scallops, undisturbed, until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the scallops and cook for 1 minute more. Turn off the heat, add the lemon zest and juice, parsley, and reserved bacon pieces, and toss to combine. Divide the scallops among 4 plates or a serving platter and serve immediately.
Cook's note: Often scallops are soaked in a phosphate solution to extend their shelf life. This water logs the scallops and makes them difficult to saute. Ask for "dry" scallops -- ones that are chemical free -- since they taste better and are easier to cook.