Make clarified butter (see my tutorial). Clarified butter does not burn as easily as regular butter so it’s the best choice for searing scallops beautifully.
To Brine Scallops
The reason why we brine scallops is for adding a flavor and removing the chemical taste. Combine the salt with the boiling water in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt. Then add cold water.
Add the scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes (no longer, or the scallops become too salty). Drain the scallops.
Rinse under cold water and gently pat dry with the paper towels. Sprinkle the scallops lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To Sear Scallops
Heat the clarified butter in a large stainless steel frying pan over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. You can create a more beautiful caramelized exterior using stainless steel pan than a non-stick pan. If you use regular butter (instead of the clarified butter), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the scallops in a single layer, leaving enough space between each scallop (If necessary, cook in 2 pans or in 2 batches). To prevent oil splatter, you can use this oil splatter guard.
Cook without moving the scallops, until the bottoms are nicely browned and release on their own, about 3 to 3 ½ minutes. Turn each scallop gently and put it in a different part of the pan so the surface is hotter and gives the best sear. Cook the other side for another 3 to 3 ½ minutes.
Transfer the scallops to a wire rack to drain excess oil while you prepare the sauce.
For the pan sauce, heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the wine, stirring constantly, and cook about 3 minutes, until alcohol is evaporated and the sauce becomes thick.
Lastly add the soy sauce and mix all together. Remove the pan from heat and spoon the pan sauce over the scallops or serve in a separate bowl.
The method for preparing and cooking scallops is from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home.