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Cooking 101...How to Cook Perfect Seared Scallops

How to…Sear Scallops

  • Author: Mila Furman


A simple tutorial to getting perfectly buttery and seared and scallops every time!


  • 1/2 a pound of scallops
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. First, make sure your scallops are dry. There are stores that sell them soaked in a sodium solution. Try to avoid those stores. As a reference, typically, Whole Foods and Costco has fabulous fresh scallops.
  2. Sometimes they have a “foot”. Which tends to be a bit tougher than the rest of the scallop meat. It’s easy to notice as it kind of sticks out. Just gently tear that off and use it in your fish stock…or not if that’s not your thing.
  3. Lay your scallops on a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper. Remember salt will draw out any extra moisture. And when you have a dry surface you get a better sear.
  4. In the meantime get your stainless or cast iron frying pan ready. Notice I did NOT say non-stick. You do not want to use a non-stick when you are searing your proteins. They just do not give your food that gorgeous crust because they do not allow the food to stick to the surface which encourages the formation of the crust through the Maillard reaction. (the caramalization of proteins)
  5. Throw in about 2 tablespoons of butter in there. Let it melt over medium high heat.
  6. Once the butter is all melted and sizzling go ahead and place your scallops into the butter, making sure your placing them carefully into the pan in an “away from you” motion so to not burn yourself with the butter. You should also know that we only put proteins to be seared in a HOT PAN. Remember, cold protein, hot pan. This way your food will sear beautifully and it will only stick until it itself is ready to be flipped.
  7. Now here is the most important part. DO NOT TOUCH THEM. Let them cook. It will take about 5 minutes on the first side. Seriously. Leave them alone. And only flip them when they freely pull away from the pan. You can test this with a tong by gently lifting the scallop in a GENTLE wiggle back and forth motion. If it comes off easily it’s all done on that side. And they will be brown and glorious.
  8. Now we let them cook for another 3 minutes on the other side and then finish off with a drizzle of lemon over them in the hot pan. Remove the scallops and serve them with a few lemon wedges. OPTIONAL: You can make a quick pan sauce by adding in a 1/4 cup of wine to the pan along with 1 tbsp of butter. Let it reduce by half and then drizzle over the scallops.
  9. I served them up with my yummy Lemony Parmesan Asparagus and a glass of crisp white wine. I served them to my dad for dinner who is not at all a fan of seafood and he practically licked the plate clean.
  • Category: Seafood
  • Cuisine: Classic
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