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    Pan Seared Sea Scallops Recipe

    Published May 21, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    If you love seafood, then you will absolutely love this pan-seared sea scallops recipe that cooks in under 5 minutes.

    I love seafood and I try to eat it just as much as I possibly can.  It has loads of health benefits and the flavors are amazing.  If you’re like me and want to check out a few new recipes then definitely try my crabcakes, shrimp scampi, or blackened salmon.

    scallops with butter sauce on a plate

    Scallops

    Scallops are bivalve mollusk that is a muscle that is encapsulated into two shells.  It’s in the same family as a mussel, clam, or oyster.  Scallops are most commonly sold shucked with the foot attached.  The foot is what attaches the scallop to the shell, and I advise removing it because it can be chewy once cooked.

    There are a few different types of scallops and all of them would work fantastically in this recipe, with adjusted cooking times dependent upon size.  Here are the two different types of scallops:

    • Bay – these are small, sweet scallops caught in shallow waters that usually take 100 to weigh 1 pound.
    • Sea – the most common type of scallop that usually comes in a myriad of sizes.  I used U12’s in this recipe.

    Maybe you’ve also heard of diver or dayboat scallops which refer to the way it is harvested:

    • Diver – instead of nets or cages, these are hand-picked scallops by divers, but it’s incredibly time-intensive, however more sustainably responsible.

    How to Pan Sear Scallops

    Follow these step-by-step instructions to make these pan-seared sea scallops:

    Start by removing the foot of each scallop.

    removing the foot from a scallop

    Place the scallops onto a folded paper towel and gently press them with paper towels to remove as much outside moisture as possible.

    patting dry scallops with a paper towel

    Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.

    seasoning scallops with pepper

    Heat some oil in a large frying pan until it is smoking.

    getting oil smoking in a pan

    Quickly add the scallops along with butter and cook for 90 seconds.

    searing scallops in a hot pan with oil

    Flip the scallops over and cook for a further 30 to 45 seconds. 

    turning a browned scallop in a pan

    Remove the scallops and make the butter sauce.

    whisking a butter sauce together in a pan

    What Kind of Pan Should I Use?

    You can honestly use any pan you want and are comfortable using.  Remember it’s about the technique and not always the tool.  Here are some pans, but aren’t limited to, that you can use:

    • Cast Iron
    • Stainless Steel
    • Carbon Steel
    • Non-Stick
    • Ceramic

    What is the Best Oil to Use?

    The most important aspect of which oil to use when pan-searing scallops are the smoke point.  Scallops cook incredibly quickly and because of that, you want them to brown up without burning or overcooking.  Here is what I would recommend using:

    • Safflower
    • Canola
    • Grape Seed
    • Clarified Butter
    • Avocado
    • Coconut

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: Scallops are meant to be eaten as soon as they are finished cooking.

    How to Reheat: Re-sear the scallops in the exact same method but cut the cooking times in half as to not overcook.  You can also reheat in the microwave.

    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  These will not freeze well, and I would recommend freezing un-cooked.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • Scallops are meant to be eaten at a more medium-internal temperature.
    • They will overcook very quickly and become very chewy.
    • If you have the option always buy dry-packed scallops.
    • Also, try serving the scallops with a simple beurre blanc.
    • There will be plenty of herb compound butter leftover that is perfect for freezing.
    a pan-seared scallop with herb butter and lemon zest

    More Seafood Recipes

    Be sure to follow me on Facebook, YouTube Instagram, and Pinterest, and if you’ve had a chance to make this then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Pan Seared Sea Scallops Recipe

    5 from 7 votes
    If you love seafood, then you will absolutely love this pan seared sea scallops recipe that cooks in under 5 minutes.
    Servings: 4
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes
    Total Time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 8 ounces softened unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons
    • ½ peeled and finely minced shallot
    • 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
    • juice and zest of 1 lemon
    • 1 pound U12 sea scallops, foot removed
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 1/3 cup white wine
    • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment whip the together the 2 sticks of butter for 4-6 minutes on medium to high speed until it is light and fluffy.
    • Next, add in the lemon juice and mix until combined, about 1 minute.
    • Add in the garlic, shallot, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, chives, and salt and pepper until completely combined. Chill.
    • Remove the foot of the scallops, pat dry with paper towels, and season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.
    • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan over high heat until it begins to lightly smoke. Add in the scallops quickly and turn the heat down to medium-high.
    • Immediately add in the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to help brown and season the scallops
    • Turn the scallops over after 1:30 to 2 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.
    • Cook the scallops for a further 30 to 45 seconds or until the desired internal temperature is achieved.
    • Remove the scallops and deglaze with the white wine and cook until it is almost gone over medium heat, about 2 to 3 minutes.
    • Remove the pan from the burner and add in 1/4 cup of the herb butter and whisk until melted. Reserve the remaining in the freezer for a later date!

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    Make-Ahead: Scallops are meant to be eaten as soon as they are finished cooking.
    How to Reheat: Re-sear the scallops in the exact same method but cut the cooking times in half as to not overcook. You can also reheat in the microwave.
    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. These will not freeze well, and I would recommend freezing un-cooked.
    Scallops are meant to be eaten at a more medium-internal temperature.
    They will overcook very quickly and become very chewy.
    If you have the option always buy dry-packed scallops.
    Also, try serving the scallops with a simple beurre blanc.
    There will be plenty of herb compound butter leftover that is perfect for freezing.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 14gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 448mgPotassium: 273mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 542IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
    Course: Main
    Cuisine: American, French
    Author: Chef Billy Parisi