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Pan Seared Bay Scallops

July 18, 2011

Until this weekend, I had never had scallops before.  I’m not sure why.  I love seafood.  But whatever, I’ve been seeing them cooked at hibachi for a while and decided to finally try them at home.  Since I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out, I picked up bay scallops from the freezer section rather than the big ones.  If it was a disaster, at least I spent half the money, right?  Well we could’ve gone back for seconds, thirds, and maybe fourths.  LOVED THESE.  Such simple flavors, but DELICIOUS.  They will become a permanent part of our repertoire.


  • 16 oz. bay scallops
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil per batch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup chives (I used dried because it’s what I had on hand)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch sea salt


  1. Find a nice thick-bottomed skillet.  You can use cast iron if it’s well-seasoned.  Mine stuck like crazy, so I used my Calphalon hard-anodized aluminum.
  2. You’re going to be cooking these in batches so as not to crowd the pan.  Depends on how big your pan is as to how many batches it takes.  My pan is 12-14″ and I did 2 batches.
  3. Heat the oil 2 teaspoons  per batch over medium high heat.
  4. Add the scallops so that there’s at least half an inch between each one.  Let them sit and cook.  You want them to get nice and caramelized on the bottom.   Maybe 5-7 minutes.
  5. When the bottom is nice and brown, loosen them with a spatula and add a tablespoon of the butter chunks, the chives, a bit of salt and cayenne.
  6. Allow the butter to melt, then tip the pan away from the heat at an angle and use a spoon to keep kind of basting the butter over the scallops until they are no longer translucent.
  7. Repeat with each batch.
  8. Serve over a bed of white rice.

Printable version.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2011 9:05 am

    This is definitely a recipe I will save. I don’t eat scallops a lot because most people don’t cook them correctly and they end up rubbery. But if prepared properly, they are tender and flavorful. This sounds like a good way to make them.

  2. July 19, 2011 3:42 pm

    Nom. I have a bag of scallops in my freezer…. 🙂

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