Scallops With Lemon Butter (Simply Divine)

Seared scallops

     For those of us who love fish, nothing can compare to that delectable taste we experience when we bite into a scallop. Sweet and delicate with a melt in your mouth goodness, it’s heaven at the end of your fork. And scallops served with a lemon butter sauce are divine.

Pay Close Attention When Cooking Your Scallops

     It should be noted that we lovers of scallops are a fussy lot. We detest one that isn’t cooked properly. If it’s overcooked, it will be chewy and rubbery – and undercooked isn’t good either. The tops and bottoms should be seared to a crispy brown and the inside cooked just long enough to turn the meat from translucent to opaque. The technique is quite simple, and the result is simply delicious.

     The following information is probably only interesting to an ichthyologist (one who studies fish), but think how impressed your guests will be when you tell them a scallop is a bi-valve in the mollusk family found only in bay waters and in the sea (never in fresh water). Their diet is mainly plankton, and they swim by clapping their shells quickly which is done by an abductor muscle (which is the part of the scallop we eat).

Scallops Apparently Are A Bit Confused

     Now this is where it gets kinky. It can either be a male, a female, or both. They reproduce by spawning, so scallops basically don’t couple; however, there was an incident where, against everyone’s advice, a scallop married a clam. As was expected, it didn’t work out, and they divorced and went their separate ways. Their problem was obvious to anyone who knew them – they were just two shellfish.


yields: 4 Servings prep time: 10 Minutes cook time: 20 Minutes
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4 tablespoonfuls Butter/oil 16 oz. Salt and pepper 4 tablespoonfuls 2 tablespoonfuls 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls 4 tablespoonfuls Salt and pepper 4 tablespoonfuls
Butter clarified For searing Scallops (4 oz. per serving) To taste (see end of recipe) Scallions very finely diced Garlic pressed Lemon juice fresh White wine dry To taste for sauce Butter cold cut in pieces
  • 4 tablespoonfuls
    Butter clarified
  • Butter/oil
    For searing
  • 16 oz.
    Scallops (4 oz. per serving)
  • Salt and pepper
    To taste (see end of recipe)
  • 4 tablespoonfuls
    Scallions very finely diced
  • 2 tablespoonfuls
    Garlic pressed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls
    Lemon juice fresh
  • 4 tablespoonfuls
    White wine dry
  • Salt and pepper
    To taste for sauce
  • 4 tablespoonfuls
    Butter cold cut in pieces


Addendum to the Scallops Recipe: There have been several questions, so I’d like to add more comments that may help.

     The first has to do when you are purchasing the scallops. The scallops that are available to us come frozen. In the morning, the scallops are placed on a bed of ice in the refrigerated fish section of the market. I like to get there by about 9 a.m. because throughout the day they will thaw, and they always look just a bit foul by the end of the day. Also, smell them. If they don’t smell fresh, pass on the scallops. Try them again at another time. You don’t want to eat a bad scallop – believe me. I also make it a rule to cook them the same day I purchase them.

     They oftentimes come in assorted sizes. A normal serving is 4 oz., which is about four X 1 oz. scallops. They are much easier to cook if they are a uniform size. If I’m cooking for two, I will ask him to package eight of his largest scallops.

     When I get home, I wash the scallops immediately with cold water to remove all of the sand (if any). The scallops cook better if each is in the shape of a column, so I manually shape each scallop and tightly pack them in glass storage containers so they maintain their shape. (Note: eight scallops will usually fit in a 2-cup container with high sides. OXO makes a good one that comes with a lid). The sides are a bit rigid to maintain the columnar shape. Refrigerate until about 30 minutes before cooking.

     When cooking, the tops and bottoms are seared in the oil/butter mix. When a nice crust forms (usually in 2-3 minutes) flip each scallop and cook the other side for about 2 minutes, and place in a heated oven to stay warm.

     ‘Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please ask and I will try to help.  

Note: Can replace chopped scallions and garlic with garlic powder and truffle salt.

Enter Target Time _______________

Time: __________ (30 minutes prior to target time)

  1. To clarify butter, in a small pan melt 1/2 stick of butter over low heat.

  2. When melted, remove from heat and set aside for several minutes to allow the milk solids to settle to the bottom.

  3. With a bulb syringe skim the clear (clarified) butter from the top , and discard sediment. (This can be done ahead of time).

  4. Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees (to keep scallops warm).

  5. high-sided cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil should be placed in oven.

  6. Rinse scallops with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.

  7. To a 12-inch skillet add 3 Tbsp of a 2/1 mixture of oil/butter over med-high heat.

  8. Season scallops with salt and pepper.

  9. Once the oil/butter begins to smoke, add scallops, making sure they do not touch, and cook without moving for 3 minutes (should be firm to the touch).

  10. Gently flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. Transfer scallops to oven.

  11. In the same skillet, clean it out a bit with paper towels and heat the clarified butter.

  12. Add onion and garlic and cook until transparent.

  13. Add lemon and white wine – season with salt and pepper.

  14. Simmer several minutes to reduce liquid.

  15. Remove from heat and whisk in the cold butter until sauce is smooth and emulsified.

Note: Two easy accompaniments to scallops are peas and packaged, microwavable long grain wild rice. Wine pairings can be a chardonnay or a Sancerre, which are both excellent.

Note: Two schools of thought on salt and peppering a scallop prior to cooking:

One school says not to salt until they are done cooking because salt will draw out the moisture.

Another says one should pre-salt to remove surface moisture and odor as well as firming up the outer layer of the scallop. They will crisp and brown better this way.

Try both and then select the one you prefer.


October 2 is national fried scallops day. It has been proposed that this day become the 11th federal holiday, but confirmation is being held up because of its close proximity to Columbus Day (October 12).

There is a scallop-flavored ice cream that is considered a Japanese treat. ‘Think I’ll pass. It’s just hard to beat a Butterfinger Blizzard.

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