WHAT ARE SCALLOPS?
Scallops are a sweet and delicate shellfish that taste absolutely amazing when drenched in butter, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Searing garlic butter scallops is one of the easiest restaurant-quality dinners that you can make at home, and they take just minutes to cook.
Scallops are also healthy, good source of omega-3 fatty acids, low carb, keto-friendly, and packed with protein. They have a slightly sweet taste and a tender, buttery texture.
However, before we can cook with them, we need to discuss just a couple of tricks that will result in perfectly prepared scallops.
WET VS. DRY SCALLOPS
First and foremost, consider buying dry packed scallops, which means natural scallops that have NOT been treated with phosphates.
“Wet” scallops are treated in a solution called sodium tripolyphosphate to extend shelf life. But, in turn, this makes the scallops absorb more water, and when you cook them, they shrivel up and release a lot of liquid, which makes it almost impossible for them to get that seared golden crust.
HOW TO COOK GARLIC BUTTER SCALLOPS
Scallops need to be seared over very high heat. If the heat isn’t high enough, the scallops will take too long to brown and you will end up with dry, rubbery, and overcooked scallops.
Also, before you start, please pat dry the scallops with paper towels. Then, remove any attached side-muscle on the scallop by pinching and tearing it away from the scallop.
- Season scallops with salt, pepper, and paprika. You can also add some cayenne pepper for a bit of heat.
- Set a large sauté pan over high heat and heat the butter until it sizzles.
- Add the scallops to the pan in one layer, one-inch apart, and cook for 2 minutes. You may have to do this in batches if your skillet isn’t big enough to fit all the scallops at once. Scallops need space to allow them to cook evenly and let the heat circulate around them.
- Turn the scallops over and continue to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or just until browned on the other side. DO NOT overcook.
- Remove scallops from pan and set aside.
- Add more butter to the pan and stir in garlic; cook for a minute, stirring frequently.
- Stir in wine and cook until reduced.
- Return scallops to the pan; spoon sauce over the scallops, squeeze some lemon juice, garnish with parsley, and serve.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH SCALLOPS
Once the scallops are done cooking, serve immediately. If serving them with pasta, make sure to cook the pasta before you cook the scallops.
HOW TO STORE COOKED SCALLOPS
- Ideally, Scallops should be cooked and eaten within one day. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for 2 days, max.
MORE EASY SEAFOOD RECIPES
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
Garlic Butter Scallops
- 1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops, dry packed
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine, (for Keto, use chicken or vegetable broth)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- lemon slices, for garnish
- Thoroughly pat dry the scallops with paper towels.
- Remove any attached side-muscle on the scallop by pinching and tearing it away from the scallop.
- Season scallops on all sides with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Set a large skillet over high heat and add 2 tablespoons butter; cook until sizzling.
- Add the scallops in one layer without over crowding the pan. Cook in batches if the scallops do not fit in the pan all at once.
- Cook scallops for 2 minutes, or until browned. Do not move them around.
- Flip over the scallops, lower heat to medium-high, and continue to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown.
- Remove scallops from pan and set aside.
- Melt remaining butter in the skillet, scraping up any browned bits left on the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Do not burn the garlic.
- Add wine and cook for 2 minutes.
- Squeeze lemon juice into the skillet; stir, and taste sauce for seasonings. Adjust accordingly.
- Return scallops to the pan and spoon sauce over scallops.
- Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.