Use paper towels to pat the scallops dry. Remove any connective tissues and season with salt. Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers, 1 to 2 minutes, then add half of the scallops.
Sear the scallops without moving them until nicely browned and they easily release from the pan, about 2 minutes. Use tongs or a spatula to flip the scallops and cook the other side, just long enough to warm the scallop through, 1½ to 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel– lined plate and repeat.
Use tongs and paper towels to wipe the pan, then reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. Once melted, add the parsley and garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Transfer the scallops to a platter, pour the garlic-parsley butter over the scallops, and serve with lemon wedges.
Variation: Chile-Lime Butter
Sear the scallops as instructed. Substitute 1 tablespoon Asian chile-garlic sauce and 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest for the garlic and parsley. Substitute lime wedges for lemon wedges. Serve sprinkled with 2 table¬spoons thinly sliced scallions.
To ensure the scallops cook evenly, place them, one at a time, in the pan starting at the 12 o’clock position. Then add more scallops to the pan in a clockwise direction, being sure not to overcrowd them. After the first scallop has the proper sear, flip each scallop in the same order that you placed them in the pan, and once they are cooked, remove them from the pan in the same order.