Easy Pan-Seared Scallops Recipe

Easy Pan-Seared Scallops
Yasmin Fahr

Try pairing these spicy scallops with a grüner veltliner (goes well with both seafood and spice) and a simple salad of arugula with Parmigiano-Reggiano in a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette. 

The method below does not cook the scallops all the way through, but if you're eating good quality scallops then that's what you want to do. However, if you'd like to cook them through, then keep the heat on for about 45 seconds longer than suggested below. 

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  • Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 6 jumbo scallops at room temperature, muscle removed
  • Vegetable or grapeseed oil, for cooking
  • 1 Thai chile or other chile, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • Arugula, for serving


Salt and pepper the scallops, then heat up a heavy sauté or cast-iron pan over high heat. When hot, add enough oil to coat the bottom and then throw in the chile, if using.

When the oil begins to sizzle, add the lemon zest and the scallops and let cook until they have formed a nice golden-brown crust on the bottom. Add some of the lemon juice. Then, flip the scallops, wait about 5-10 seconds, and then turn off the heat, moving the pan to a cool spot. Allow the residual heat from the pan to cook the scallops for about another minute or two or until the underside has a nice crust.* Add the remaining lemon juice.

Recipe Details

Total time: 10 minutes

*Note: If you'd like, add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and some white wine to the pan the scallops were cooked in. Scrape up any brown bits remaining in the pan and once the sauce has thickened, serve it on top of the scallops.

Servings: 2

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