These decadent seared sea scallops with wine sauce are rich, buttery, and luxurious. This tutorial will walk you through how to prepare this classic shellfish dish.
If you're looking for a decadently delicious seafood meal for a fancy-pants dinner, you might think: "Lobster. I love lobster."
And so do I.
BUT — there's another shellfish that you should try: sea scallops. Sea scallops 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. That makes them 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.
Are Sea Scallops + Bay Scallops The Same Thing?
Sea scallops are much larger than bay scallops.
Generally, sea scallops are about an inch to two inches in diameter, while bay scallops are a little larger than a pencil eraser.
Sea scallops will cost more than bay scallops, but they're also a much higher-end, more richly flavored shellfish.
Can I Use Bay Scallops Instead?
You could, but they'll be a lot harder to sear. They'll also be lot less decadent and luxurious.
If you swap sea scallops for bay scallops, make this for a weeknight dinner.
Are Cheap Sea Scallops Too Good to be True?
Check the label, and make sure there are no chemical additives.
Generally, cheaper sea scallops will have plumping agents added, and those will keep the scallops from searing properly. Look for scallops without additives.
I like the frozen, all natural sea scallops at Trader Joe's.
How to Thaw Before Making Seared Scallops
Option one is to thaw the scallops overnight in the refrigerator. Remove scallops from the packaging and thaw in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
The other option is a quick thaw. Place the scallops in an open plastic bag and immerse the bag in cold water. Take care not to get water inside the bag.
Avoid placing scallops directly into water, because you could introduce water into the scallop, and then they won't sear properly.
Making Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce
Once you've got your hands on some scallops, it's time to cook!
Melt butter in a heavy pan. Currently, my favorite pan is this Lodge 12" carbon steel skillet.
Place the scallops in the melted butter. Make sure not to crowd the scallops, because they need room to brown.
Set a timer for one and a half minutes, and then begin flipping the scallops.
Another option is to watch for the scallops to brown and then flip them.
After another minute or two, remove the scallops from the pan.
Add wine, butter, and lemon juice to the pan, and stir in a few herbs.
And then, dig in, enjoy, and don't even try to contain your intense food happiness.
Seared Sea Scallops with Wine Sauce
- 9 ounces sea scallops Dry packed or chemical-free
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- ½ cup white wine
- ¼ cup lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 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 ½ TB butter on high until it begins to brown. Add scallops and let them sit on one side for 1 ½ - 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.
- Serve immediately