Pan-Seared Scallops

Yield: 2 servings Total time: 30 minutes January 13, 2018

If you’re looking for a special but easy meal, you can’t do much better than seared scallops.

Recipe from Leite’s Culinaria.


  • 12 oz. fresh (not frozen) sea scallops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. mild olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter or 1/2 oz. ghee
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Lemon Brown Butter

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp. minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. minced thyme
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Place the scallops on a large plate or rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean dish towel or several paper towels. Place another clean dish towel or stack of paper towels on top of the scallops and gently press to blot any liquid. Let the scallops rest at room temperature for 10 minutes so the towels absorb any excess moisture.

Just before cooking, season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot and almost but not quite smoking.

Add the scallops to the skillet in a single layer, preferably around the perimeter of the skillet and without crowding them. Cook, without touching the scallops, until they’re magnificently golden brown on the bottom, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium and, using tongs or a flexible metal spatula (but not a plastic spatula), flip the scallops. (If the scallops stick to the skillet, just let them be still for another moment; they’re just not ready to be turned yet. When they’re ready, they’ll let go.

Add the butter to the skillet and use a large spoon to baste the scallops with melted butter as you continue to cook the scallops until the sides centers are opaque, 60 to 90 seconds more, depending on the size. Use tongs to transfer the scallops to plates or platters as soon as each is done. Serve immediately with the lemon wedges.

Lemon Brown Butter

Cook butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, tilting the saucepan constantly, until the butter turns golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 3 to 4 minutes. Add minced shallot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in flat-leaf parsley, thyme, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

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