Seared Scallops

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

  • About

Scallops are my favorite of all seafood. This recipe illustrates the quick method of searing the scallops so they are burnished with gold—a popular restaurant technique you can do at home in no time.


  • ¾ pound sea scallops
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon quarters, for serving


    1. Remove and discard the small adductor muscle that’s found on the side of each scallop. (If you can’t find it, don’t worry about it.) Pat the scallops dry with paper towels (this is important—if they are too wet, they won’t brown).
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. (Add a little more olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan if your skillet is not nonstick.) Season the scallops with salt and pepper to taste. Place them in the skillet, which should now be very hot, without crowding the pan (work in 2 batches, if necessary).
    3. Sear the scallops until the bottoms are nicely golden brown, usually about 2 minutes, or slightly longer. Lower the heat to medium if they are sizzling intensely and shake the pan once or twice to be sure they’re not sticking. Gently turn the scallops over with tongs and brown the second sides, about 1 minute. Don’t overcook—the scallops are done when they are just gently set when pressed with a fingertip, but not hard or rubbery.
    4. Arrange the scallops on serving plates. Sprinkle them with lemon juice, garnish with a quarter of a lemon, and dig in.