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  • Bettina Applewhite

How to Perfectly Sear Scallops

A buttery scallop is one of my favorite meals. It's one of those dishes that I'm always tempted to order when I see it on a menu. There are a few tips to make them just as well at home.

Seared scallops are a quick dinner meal or in this case as an elegant appetizer. But I must warn you. If you start your meal off this way, you’ll have to make sure that you have a great main dish. Because these are luxurious. Scallops look like they’re difficult to make but they’re actually easy to do.

To make seared scallops, first pick the right scallops. Jumbo scallops are what you're looking for. Bay scallops are a lot smaller and aren't best for searing. Try to pick out the biggest scallops you can find.

The key to a perfect sear is a dry scallop and a hot pan. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. I like to use my cast iron pan for seared scallops because it holds heat well and evenly. To my hot pan I add in olive oil and butter. While the butter is melting, season the scallops with salt and pepper. Once the pan is smoking hot, place the scallops in the pan in an intentional pattern, clockwise.

Scallops cook quickly so you’ll want to make sure you know which scallop to turn next. Sear the scallops until they are browned which will take about 2 minutes. Then turn them over in the same pattern that you placed them down and sear on the other side for 2 minutes more. Remove scallops from the pan and place on a plate.

At this point the scallops are done. You can do a little more by adding a sauce to your scallops.

Add diced shallots and garlic to the pan. Cook until fragrant and then add white wine and chopped capers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the alcohol burns off and the liquid is reduced to half. Add in 1 tbsp of Unsalted butter to make a smooth, buttery sauce. Drizzle pan sauce over scallops and enjoy!

Seared Scallops are a wonderfully delicious dish that you can make for that special someone that you love or any special occasion will do just fine. Remember that the key points are to have a hot pan and dry scallops. Your scallops will melt in your mouth like butter from the first bite.

Perfectly Seared Scallops & White Wine & Caper Sauce

Serves 2


4 Jumbo Scallops

Salt & Pepper

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, divided

2 Tbsp Capers, chopped

1 Shallot, minced

1 Clove Garlic, minced

1/2 Cup White Wine, dry (like a Chardonnay)


  1. Following the steps to a perfect sear is important. For more detail, check out the video above. Rinse scallops and pat dry with a paper towel.

  2. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter to a hot pan over medium high heat. While butter is melting, season scallops with salt and pepper.

  3. Once butter has melted, add scallops to pan in a clockwise manner. Sear for 2 minutes. Flip scallops over in the same order that they were placed in the pan. Cook for an additional 1 minute, or until nice crust forms on the other side. (Overcooking the scallops will give you a rubbery texture.)

  4. Remove scallops from pan. While resting make your sauce.

  5. To the same pan, turn down heat to medium low. Add in shallots and garlic. Cook until shallots are translucent, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add in chopped capers and wine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Turn up heat to medium and allow alcohol to burn off. Reduce to half the liquid has burned off and add in 1 Tbsp of butter and melt. Once flavors have married together. Spoon over scallops and they're ready to serve.


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