Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce: A fast, easy, and delicious date night dinner that's ready in about 20 minutes.

Gourmet Special: Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce: A fast, easy, and delicious date night dinner that's ready in about 20 minutes.

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce

Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

If you’re looking for a decadently delicious seafood meal, you might think– “Lobster.  I love lobster.”  Typically I would agree with you, but if you haven’t tried sea scallops– they give lobster a fight for the Fabulous Seafood Award. (I just made that award up, but let’s pretend it’s real.)  These Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce are rich, delicious, and fast– the perfect date-night meal.  They’re also perfect if you want to treat yourself to an easy, fancy-schmancy meal.  You know, the kind where you get to eat everything yourself instead of sharing.

Gathering Ingredients

Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta

Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta

When you go scallop shopping, you’ll see options.  Lots and lots of options.  Well actually, you’ll see two types of scallops, stored two different ways.  Bay scallops are small, about a quarter-inch across.  They’re much more affordable than sea scallops, but can actually be cooked the same way.  That means yes, you can use this exact recipe for bay scallops, and it will still be delicious.  Sea scallops, however, are a little bit pricier, and are worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY.  If you like bay scallops, you will adore sea scallops.  You’ll sigh giddily when you bite into them, and end your meal with a goofy ‘food happy’ smile.

If you live on the coast, try to find fresh, never frozen scallops (or ‘dry’ scallops).  If you, like me, live a landlocked life, you might be doomed to buying scallops that have, at one point or another, been frozen (or ‘wet’ scallops).  When shopping, don’t be fooled by deceptively fresh-looking scallops sitting out on the seafood counter– ask if they’ve been frozen.  Typically I’m a fan of frozen fish, especially when I’m serving lox or ahi tuna, but freezing scallops does affect the taste.  Can’t find fresh scallops?  Don’t despair, fellow landlocked foodies– you CAN have delicious scallops!  Simply soak your scallops in a lemon juice and water bath for about 30 minutes before cooking.  Just look at the soak-time as an opportunity to thaw your seafood, and it won’t seem like a further injustice to those of us who are far from sunny beaches and fresh seafood.

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce: A fast, easy, and delicious date night dinner that's ready in about 20 minutes.

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce

Making Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce

Once you’ve got your hands on some scallops, it’s time to cook!  First of all, make sure they’re dried off.  Pat them with a towel, and sprinkle them with salt.  Go ahead and pat them dry again.  Heat some butter in a heavy pan on high heat until it starts to brown, and then sear your scallops for about a minute and a half per side.  Don’t cook them longer– don’t even think about it!  Flip them as soon as they have a golden crust.  Once they’re done searing, set them aside in a covered dish to keep them warm.  Next, use the leftover juice in the pan to make a pan sauce.  Reduce the heat to medium, and add more butter.  Once it’s melted, add the wine, garlic, and lemon juice.  Let the sauce reduce, and then stir in some herbs.  Set the scallops back in the pan for just a couple seconds, enough to warm them back up, and serve them with the pan sauce.  If you’re feeling like being extra fancy, top them with some more herbs when serving.  Dig in, enjoy, and don’t even try to contain your  extreme food happiness.

Want more seafood?  Try these:

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce: A fast, easy, and delicious date night dinner that's ready in about 20 minutes.

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce

Course Main Course
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 273 kcal
Author Champagne Tastes


  • 9 oz sea scallops- if scallops have been frozen, pre-soak in cold water with juice from 1 lemon and 1-2 tsp salt for 30 minutes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 TB butter, divided
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • handful fresh herbs, reserving some for garnish


  1. Pat scallops until they are very dry, sprinkle with salt, and pat dry again. Damp scallops will not sear properly.

  2. In a heavy bottom pan (like cast iron), heat 1 1/2 TB butter on high until it begins to brown. Add scallops and let them sit on one side for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes per side, until each side is golden brown. Remove scallops from pan, and keep them in a covered dish so they stay warm.

  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining butter to pan, and allow it to melt. Add wine, lemon juice, and garlic. Allow sauce to reduce by about half. Turn off heat, and stir in most of the herbs, reserving some for garnishing. Add scallops back into the pan for about a minute to warm them up again.
  4. Serve immediately

Recipe Notes

*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.

Recipe adapted from:

11 thoughts on “Gourmet Special: Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce

  1. Dawn - Girl Heart Food says:

    ‘Food happy’ smiles are the best 😉 I enjoy scallops, but haven’t had them in ages! I know that hubby enjoys them even more than lobster. They definitely are something special to serve up when guests are over and I love how quick they are to prepare. And you really can’t beat butter and wine together, can ya? Just have to make sure to save some wine for the meal, lol 😀

  2. Brian Jones says:

    Perfectly cooked scallops really are a thing of great beauty and they need so little to make them work this sounds divine… Although when it comes to serious food out of the sea for me there is only one king and that is the humble mackerel, but I’m happy without that comes out of salty water. Not sure how then I found myself living in a landlocked country?

  3. Just Jo says:

    Oh yum, Hungry Hubby always goes for scallops when we go out for a fancy meal but I have never cooked them for him. I’ve been thinking we need a date night at home (to save the cash!) and these may just be the special starter I am looking for. Love the tip about dealing with frozen ones.

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