Pan-Seared Scallops

Cooking delicate scallops quickly over high heat prevents moisture and flavor loss. By searing deeply on one side, you’ll allow the scallops to develop a crisp golden crust. Then all you have to do is flip them to allow the skillet to “kiss” the other side. Don’t be afraid to use a hot pan.


Makes four servings

Preparation time: 10 to 15 minutes

  • 12 to 16 fresh sea scallops
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbs. rice-bran oil, ghee, or other high-heat oil

Rinse the scallops and blot with a paper towel. Set them back onto a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Season with salt.

Heat a heavy stainless-steel skillet over high heat. When a few drops of water flicked into the pan hop and sizzle, add the oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add scallops to the pan, seasoned side down, making sure they aren’t touching each other. Sear for about two and a half minutes, until the bottom of the scallops are golden brown. Sprinkle salt on the exposed side, and then turn scallops over and sear for about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan, season with freshly ground black pepper (to taste), then set aside to rest while you make the optional pan sauce and spinach (or you can just squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the scallops before eating).

Pan Sauce and Wilted Spinach

  • 1 tbs. high-heat oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus 2 tbs.
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 4 tbs. butter, chilled
  • 6 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried well
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Once you remove the scallops, keep the pan hot and add another drizzle of oil. Add the minced shallot and sauté until just golden. Add 1/2 cup of wine. Stir to scrape up all remnants from cooking the scallops (this is called “deglazing the pan”). Cook until wine is reduced to half original volume. Then add tarragon and whisk in butter, reducing heat to low, stirring constantly to blend the butter into the sauce. Salt to taste. Divide sauce equally onto four plates and top with scallops.

Toss the spinach into the hot pan. Add a couple of tablespoons of white wine, and cover to steam for a minute or two. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve alongside the scallops.

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Newsletter Signup
Weekly Newsletter
Special Promotions