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This is the most simple and most classic of recipes. Searing food in a pan causes the chemical process known as the maillard reaction (pronounced my-YAR).
The proteins and sugars contained in foods will react under high heat and cause browning. While you might think of this process as being what happens with your favorite steak or fish, the maillard reaction is responsible for everything from the browning of bread to roasted coffee beans.
That browning also works when searing foods in a pan to help create fantastic sauces. Scraping the browned bits from the bottom of a roasting pan or sauté pan after cooking is known as "deglazing the pan." After the food and excess fat are removed, liquid (wine, water, stock, cognac, etc.) is heated with the remaining cooking juices in the bottom of the pan. The browned bits are scraped from the bottom, becoming the base for your sauce.
Here's the detailed recipe for Sauteed Scallops. You can print the recipe by clicking the print icon at the top of the right-hand column to open a new window without the images, then use your browser's "Print" function.