Start cooking pasta according to the package instructions, if you're serving these scallops with pasta. Cook it at the same time as scallops and sauce, strain, and set aside.
Rinse off scallops with cold water and pat each one dry with a paper towel. If there are any scallops that have the side muscle attached, simply remove it. (Side muscle cooks tough and it’s unpleasant to eat.)
Preheat a cooking pan first over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and let it heat through until you start to see a little smoke (it should take less than a minute).
Season scallops with salt and pepper on both sides right before adding the pan.
Place scallops into the skillet but leave some room in between each one. To ensure a nice sear, don't overcrowd them.
Do not move or touch them until ready to flip.
Sear scallops for about 2 minutes (a few seconds more or a few seconds less depending on the size). Flip each on in the same order as you put them in and sear another 2 minutes.
Take scallops out of the pan and set aside while preparing the sauce.
Prepare the sauce:
Turn the heat down to medium and melt butter in the same pan where you cooked the scallops.
Add pressed garlic and let it sear for a couple of seconds, until fragrant.
Pour in stock and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan.
Pour in heavy whipping cream and slowly stir to mix. Let it heat through for a minute or two.
Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need more salt.
Gently and slowly stir the sauce at it heats through and comes to a simmer. Let is gently simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken. Once sauce is thickened, add scallops back just enough to heat them up and take off heat.
If you're making this dish with pasta, you can toss pasta with sauce or pour the sauce over the pasta. (Tossing will coat pasta much more evenly though.)
Nutrition notes: nutritional facts are calculated with fettuccine but note that it would change with other pasta or side dish options.