Seared scallops are a quick and easy yet special-feeling meal. Smoky, spicy Spanish chorizo adds some complexity to scallops' sweet, mild taste and some textural contrast too.
If your scallops still have the little piece of muscle attached to the side, remove and discard it. (See video for technique.) Pat scallops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Dice the chorizo into small cubes (about 1/4-inch). Heat a 12-inch nonstick pan over high heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on several sides — just a few minutes. Remove chorizo to a bowl.
Add oil to pan and keep over high heat. When very hot, add scallops without crowding. Cook 60 seconds without moving, then add butter and cook 30 seconds more. Use tongs to flip each scallop and cook just until done to your liking. I like to pull them off the heat before they're opaque in the center, which, depending on size, may mean just 30 seconds or so on the second side.
To serve, place a few scallops and some of the chorizo on each plate and sprinkle with chives, if using. These are great over basmati rice pilaf.
There's a lot of information in that ingredient line about scallops! Here's what it all means. You're buying one pound of scallops. They're sea scallops, not bay scallops. (Bay scallops are much smaller and typically used in different types of dishes.) They're "dry," meaning they haven't been injected with a chemical solution to plump them up. (Dry scallops both taste way better and sear way better.) And they're "10-20," which means there are 10 to 20 of them in a pound. (This tells you about what size they'll be.)