Perfectly Seared Scallops

Recently, I bought some jumbo-sized Canadian scallops from the supermarket. They are very big, at about 50 grams per scallop. They are also a little pricier at more than $1 per scallop. So I really want to put them to better use than the usual scallops in hot pot or stir-fry. The end result are these gourmet tasting perfectly seared scallops which I am really happy with.

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It had a “wow!” factor with the first bite. Each scallop was an explosion of flavours though all I used for seasoning was … salt and pepper!

Perfectly Seared Scallops Recipe

I served the dish right in its pan and it looks lovely. I think this is the perfect romantic dish to cook for your date or spouse to impress them, without doing much work actually >o<

Perfectly Seared Scallops Recipe

The first trick to getting the scallops perfectly seared is to dry the scallops as much as possible. I used 6 paper towels :O

Perfectly Seared Scallops Recipe

Next, you also need a hot pan. With a heated pan, the scallop will be perfectly seared on the outside, and  the cameralised browning will bring out the scallop’s natural umami flavours. The juices within are also sealed in, so the scallops are tender and not shrunken much after cooking. The expert will advise using an old-school cast iron or stainless steel pan for better heat retention, but I achieved great results with a non-stick pan anyway. Also, once on the pan, don’t touch the scallops. Let them sit still until you can see the browning peeking out from the bottom of each scallop.

Perfectly Seared Scallops Recipe

Normally, I’d make a quick sauce by de-glazing the pan with some dry white wine, but I ran out of it! So I melted some butter and added a squeeze of lemon juice and then scoop the buttery sauce over the scallops. Any leftover sauce was soaked up with some thawed frozen spinach.

Perfectly Seared Scallops

For best results, use large or jumbo-sized scallops for this recipe (at least 50 grams each).


  • 6 large scallops* thawed if using frozen
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • fine sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped italian parsley
  • 2 lemon wedges


  • 30 grams butter
  • a small squeeze of lemon juice
  • 50 grams frozen whole leaf spinach thawed & excess liquid squeezed out

*you can cook as many scallops as you like, just don’t over-crowd the pan at any one time. If you have more scallops, cook in 2 or more batches accordingly.

You also need

  • kitchen paper towels


  1. Pat the scallops as dry as possible with kitchen paper towels. Season lightly with salt.
  2. Heat a pan with olive oil on medium high until the oil is hot (you may see the first sign of smoking). Add the scallops to the hot pan, giving some space between each scallop. You should hear a sizzling sound once the scallop enter the pan.
  3. Let the scallops cook on one side without touching them, until you see a brown crust peeking out from its underside, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the scallops over with tongs and cook until nicely seared on the other side, about 2 minutes.
  4. Melt butter and add a squeeze of lemon juice to de-glaze the pan. Scoop the buttery sauce over the scallops. Optional: add spinach to soak up the remaining scallop juices in the pan.
  5. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve the seared scallops straight in the pan or on serving plates with lemon wedges.