The keys to getting a good sear on scallops are:
- the scallops have to be completely dry
- the pan has to be HOT!!!!!
- the scallops should not be crowded together.
This should all work, regardless of what type of pan you're using (although a nonstick pan will not work as well).
The hardest part is getting the scallops dry, since as Someday said, a lot of scallops are soaked in chemicals to keep them white and "fresh." You might try rinsing them in salt water, and then drying them really thoroughly on paper towels.
After you pat the scallops dry, try dredging them very, very lightly with flour (Wondra works well). Just a thin coating will help deal with the moisture problem, and will contribute its own color as it browns. Heat your pan really hot
before you add your oil, then let it heat up again before you add the scallops. If you keep your pan hot enough, the time it takes to brown them should cook them sufficiently. And give them room! As with any sauteing, if the pan is crowded the food will steam before it browns.
Adding whole butter and basting just before you remove them, as suggested, will add great flavor :lips: as well as contributing some color. Just don't let it burn, though.