Pan-Fried Scallops Recipe

I’m sure you would also agree that pan-fried scallops make a restaurant-worthy meal, and they are quite simple to make at home.

Pan-fried scallops actually make a delightful dinner with little or no effort. To make them taste good, they don’t need grand sauces or extra ingredients that are just like a perfect steak or good pan-seared salmon; all you need is the right method to cook them properly.

The key here is to sear them in an extremely hot pan and make sure you resist the urge to fiddle with them as they cook.

If you allow them to sear untouched, then they can create a delicious, caramelized exterior and succulent interior. A simple lemon-butter pan sauce is all you need to complete this dish.

Citrus does work beautifully well with scallops, given that they both showcase their briny sweetness and temper their natural richness.

But you are free to experiment with different citrus flavors, such as grapefruit, lime, orange, or a combination.

In addition, you can dress your scallops up with fresh herbs such as chives, thyme, tarragon, dill, basil, or parsley.

Pan-seared scallops are great when they are served with risotto or artisan bread, a green salad, and, to complement them, a crisp white wine.

Purchasing Scallops

There are two kinds of scallops, and they include bay and sea scallops.

Bay scallops are around the size of a dime, whereas sea scallops can have a diameter of up to around 2 inches.

Bay scallops are quite rare and expensive; they are normally used in casseroles and seafood stews.

On the other hand, the sea scallops called for here are what you are likely to get when you order scallops at a restaurant.

I suggest that you look for the “dry” or “dry-packed” variety when you are purchasing scallops.

You might find that some scallops on the market are dipped in a solution in order to extend their shelf life.

The scallops do end up absorbing the water in the solution, which will then increase the price and cause the scallops to leak moisture when being cooked, which will keep them from developing a nicely caramelized crust.

Normally, quality seafood markets carry dry scallops but do not usually label them. Just ask your fishmonger if you are not sure what to buy.

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It is highly recommended that you purchase the scallops just a day or two before you plan to cook them, given that they are extremely perishable.

They come with a briny ocean smell when they are still fresh, and they will smell more fishy when they begin to spoil.

In addition, scallops possess a small muscle on the side. In my case, I always get rid of them because particles of sand can get caught between the scallop and the muscle.

The Perfect Pan-Fried Scallops

You will get to learn how to make restaurant-quality pan-seared scallops at home.

This simple recipe will yield perfectly seared scallops that are caramelized on the exterior and buttery tender on the interior.

  • Category: Seafood
  • Cuisine: Pescatarian
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Ib of dry sea scallops or diver scallops
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lemon, for serving
  • Thyme, garlic, or other aromatics (optional)

Laid-Out Instructions

  • First, you are to heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Then proceed to add the oil when the pan is hot.
  • After that, proceed to pat the scallops very dry using paper towels, then season one side with salt and pepper right before you cook and make sure it doesn’t happen sooner.
  • That being done, carefully place the scallops in the hot oil, seasoned side down, and allow them to cook undisturbed for around 2 minutes or until they become nicely browned around the bottom. Also, season the other side while they cook.
  • And, once they brown, you are to easily release the scallops from the pan, turn over, lower the heat, and then add the butter and aromatics if you are using them.
  • Afterward, tilt the pan to the side and use a spoon to baste the scallops with the melted butter for around 30 seconds to 1 minute, but this is based on their size and desired level of doneness.
  • You will know that the scallops are done when they look mostly opaque throughout. I prefer my scallops medium to medium well; that way, I get to remove them when they are still a bit translucent in the center.
  • After that, go ahead and remove the scallops from the pan and serve immediately with lemons on the side.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Pan-Fried Scallops

What Goes with Seared Scallops?

Well, I prefer to serve them with something light, such as a salad. You can go for the Mexican corn salad, as it is a great option, as well as the arugula zucchini salad.

In addition, you can go for a recipe for seared scallops with bacon jam and basil, which is a delicious complement to the scallops.

These scallops are certainly ideal for a cocktail party appetizer; however, they are also great served as a meal.

You have the option of serving them with these other dishes for a surf and turf dinner or as a seafood feast:

  • Classic, creamy lobster bisque
  • Maryland jumbo lump crab cakes
  • Oven roasted whole beef tenderloin
  • Cioppino: San Francisco seafood stew
  • Dijon herb-crusted rack of lamb

How Long Will Scallops Last in the Fridge?

Scallops will be kept in the fridge for a maximum of two days. As previously mentioned, they have a sweet ocean smell when they are fresh, and they will take on a stinky fish smell when they begin to spoil.

Can Scallops Be Reheated?

Well, of course, you can reheat your scallops, but this can be tricky as you need to be careful not to cook them further. Just heat them until they are just warm enough to eat. You can do this in the microwave at half heat.

What Is the Secret to Searing Scallops?

Well, the short and straightforward answer to that question is to avoid overcrowding the pan; that is the secret to perfect fried scallops.

I suggest that you fry them in batches to ensure that there’s enough space in between each scallop to properly develop a golden brown exterior.

The scallops will certainly steam and will not get that beautiful crust if they are too close together.

How Long Do Scallops Take to Cook?

For large sea scallops, they will need around 2 to 3 minutes for each side to cook.

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Keep in mind that you will need to monitor your scallops closely as they cook, given that they can go from tender and juicy to rubbery and overcooked in a matter of minutes.

How Do You Know When A Scallop Is Done?

This question has been answered above, but still, you know your scallops are done when they become firm and opaque.

In my opinion, it is better to slightly undercook your scallops and allow them to rest for a minute or two to finish cooking through than to overcook them.

Final Thoughts on Pan-Fried Scallops

Something to keep in mind is to rinse your scallops under cold water, as this will help get rid of any sand that might be present, and then proceed to pat them very dry. This is vital for them in order to get beautifully caramelized as they sear.

Make sure you get the pan nice and hot if you want the perfect sear. I mostly opt for oil to sear the scallops and butter to finish, which helps add great flavor to them.

Now, with that being said, you have your perfect recipe for pan-fried scallops, so go ahead and have a wonderful treat.

Pan-Fried Scallops Recipe

Pan-Fried Scallops Recipe

Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

I’m sure you would also agree that pan-fried scallops make a restaurant-worthy meal, and they are quite simple to make at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 Ib of dry sea scallops or diver scallops
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Lemon, for serving
  • Thyme, garlic, or other aromatics (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
  2. Add oil to the hot pan.
  3. Pat the scallops very dry using paper towels.
  4. Season one side of the scallops with salt and pepper just before cooking, ensuring it doesn’t happen too early.
  5. Carefully place the seasoned side of the scallops in the hot oil.
  6. Allow the scallops to cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes, or until nicely browned on the bottom.
  7. While cooking, season the other side of the scallops.
  8. Once browned, gently release the scallops from the pan and turn them over.
  9. Lower the heat and add butter and aromatics if desired.
  10. Tilt the pan and use a spoon to baste the scallops with the melted butter for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on their size and desired doneness.
  11. The scallops are done when they appear mostly opaque throughout. For a medium to medium-well doneness, remove them when they are still slightly translucent in the center.
  12. Remove the scallops from the pan and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

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