A long platter of pan seared sea scallops with roasted carrots, lemon and dill.
Mediterranean diet, Seafood

Pan seared sea scallops

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Fresh herbs and lemon infuse these pan seared sea scallops making a lean and healthy meal. These sea scallops are pictured served with roasted carrots seasoned in extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

A long platter of pan seared sea scallops with roasted carrots, lemon and dill.
Simple and delicious pan seared sea scallops

Sea scallops take only minutes to cook and go with a multitude of flavors. My favorite way to serve sea scallops is simply with sea salt and pepper, a fresh herb such as dill, tarragon, or chives and a drizzle of lemon or lime juice. They are pictured with with fresh dill and scallions.

How to cook sea scallops

Follow these important tips for how to cook sea scallops, and you’ll have a lean healthy dinner on the table fast.

  1. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels before you season them with a salt and pepper. They need to be dry in order for them to sear properly.
  2. You need just a small amount of oil and it needs to be quite hot (right at smoke point) before the scallops hit the pan. I usually use a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil such as sunflower oil.
  3. Cook 2 minutes on the first side and about ½ a minute on the second side. Flip only once using tongs or metal spatula and a fork to steady. They should have a nice golden sear on the first side. Overcooked scallops are rubbery and unsatisfying.
  4. Drizzle fresh lemon juice or lime juice and fresh herbs of your choice over them just prior to serving.
A close up of pan seared sea scallops with lemon, dill and scallions.
Pan seared sea scallops with lemon, dill and scallions

You’ll notice sea scallops are often served in a restaurant with bacon or a heavy butter-based sauce. I’ve always found this over-powering not to mention artery-clogging. At home, I prefer to keep it low-fat, simple and fresh. Instead, think fresh tangy herbs and citrus flavors to compliment the natural delicate creamy flavor of the scallop. These flavors fall in line with the Mediterranean diet. Since sea scallops cook up fast, have everything else you plan to serve with them ready before you start. Right before serving, sprinkle the scallops with a little lemon or lime juice and fresh herbs.

Pan seared sea scallops

Fresh herbs and lemon infuse these pan seared sea scallops making a lean and healthy meal.

Serves 4 people

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 16 fresh sea scallops
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • handful fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • Juice of half a large lemon
  1. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels. Season them with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
  2. Use a large non-stick skillet. Turn the heat to high and add the vegetable oil. The oil should be hot (near smoke point) just before you add the sea scallops.
  3. Cook 2 minutes on the first side and about ½ a minute on the second side. Flip only once using tongs or a spatula and a fork to steady. They should have a nice golden sear on the first side.
  4. Drizzle fresh lemon juice and fresh herbs such as dill and scallions over them just prior to serving.
  • Other fresh herbs to try instead of dill include tarragon, cilantro or chives.
 

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