The cooking time for a simple scallop dish is four to five minutes. Before cooking them, remove the side muscle that held the scallop to the shell. While edible, these muscles are tough to chew.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil to a heated skillet. Add the scallops in a single layer without crowding them. Allow them to cook until browned and seared, which takes about two minutes. Turn the scallops over, and brown the other side for two to three minutes. The sides should be opaque.
Prepare scallops immediately before plating and serving food. Overcooking leads to the scallops being tough.