These rich and decadent Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce are flavorful, delicious, and quick to prepare. They’re perfect for date night, ‘fancy-schmancy’ dinners, or an indulgent dinner for one!
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.
When you go scallop shopping, you’ll see options. Lots and lots of options. For this recipe, you’re looking for sea scallops. You might also see calico or bay scallops– those are smaller (sometimes as small as a pencil eraser), and it’ll be harder to get a perfect sear! Sea scallops are a little pricier than the smaller scallops, but one bite and you won’t mind! You’ll sigh giddily when you bite into them, and end your meal with a goofy ‘food happy’ smile.
Scallops are handled two different ways. What you’re looking for are ‘dry packed‘ scallops, and not ‘wet packed‘ scallops. What’s the difference? Dry packed scallops are refrigerated or flash frozen immediately after harvesting. They’ll taste the best, and you’ll get a better sear when you cook them.
Wet scallops, on the other hand, have been soaked in a phosphate bath. Why? It plumps the scallops up, and makes them whiter. What does that mean? For one thing, it means chemicals have been added to your food. It also means that, since scallops are sold by weight– you’re paying for the plumping liquid in addition to the scallops! That, my friends, is not cool. Look for ‘dry’ scallops.
Making Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce
Once you’ve got your hands on some scallops, it’s time to cook! If you’re using scallops that were frozen, DO NOT dump them into out of their bag and into an ice bath. Not only might the scallops absorb the water, but the scallops natural juices can get rinsed away with the water. Defrost them in the fridge overnight, or leave them in their packaging to defrost them quickly in a bath of cold water.
Next, make sure they’re dried off. Pat them with a paper towel, and then pat them dry again. Sprinkle them with salt. 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.
Tips for Searing Scallops
- Wet scallops WILL NOT SEAR. Dry your scallops off, and then dry them again.
- Cold scallops MIGHT NOT SEAR. If possible, remove the scallops from the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking them, allowing them to warm to room temperature.
- Don’t move them around in the pan. For a golden sear, set the scallops in the pan, and don’t touch them until it’s time to flip them!
- Don’t overcrowd your pan. Make sure each scallop has a little room around it– if the scallops are too close to each other, their juices will collect in the pan and keep them from searing.
Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce
Seared Seafood Recipe for Date Night
- 9 oz 'dry packed' sea scallops
- 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
Pat scallops until they are very dry, sprinkle with salt, and pat dry again. Damp scallops will not sear properly.
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.
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.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.
Recipe adapted from: Food.com