It’s easy to eat your greens when they are wilted in olive oil and garlic and topped with this Pan Seared Scallops Recipe. One pan, less than 20 minutes and you have an elegant, healthy and delicious meal.
Whenever scallops happen to be on sale, stock up. They’re a bit of a delicacy. But, they are totally worth it (in my humble opinion.)
They’re high in protein, low in calories and cook VERY quickly. You’ll never be more than 30 minutes away from dinner if you keep a bag of frozen scallops in the freezer.
For example, this Pan Seared Scallops Recipe over wilted spinach takes 20 minutes to make, start to finish. It’s the same time frame for Broiled Scallops with a Parmesan Crust.
The same rationale can be made for keeping a bag of shrimp in the freezer so you can make things like Rock Shrimp in Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce or Cauliflower Grits and Shrimp. PLUS…you can make these recipes using scallops instead.
Dinner doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious!
Pan Seared Scallops Recipe Q & A
Once you’ve invested in scallops, you don’t want to mess things up!
- What’s the best type of scallop to sear in a pan? The kind you have in the freezer! In all seriousness, larger scallops, such as sea or Patagonian scallops are the best types because the surface area is larger. Save the smaller bay scallops for dishes like Scallops and Orzo.
- What’s the difference between “wet” and “dry” scallops? Wet scallops are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP). It safe to consume allows scallops to soak up extra water. On the other hand, dry scallops don’t have any extra water weight. Dry scallops will sear better.
- Can you sear scallops in a non-stick pan? Yes indeed. That’s how these were cooked. If you have a wrought iron pan or aluminum pan, it will work too of course.
How to Perfectly Sear Scallops
Follow these tips to achieve a perfect buttery, caramelized outside crust on each scallop:
- Pat scallops with a towel to remove any excess moisture. Scallops should be a bit sticky to touch.
- Season scallops with salt and pepper.
- Add enough butter to the pan to form a thin layer, but not so much that the scallops are swimming and don’t have a chance to sear.
- Melt butter over a medium high heat. Don’t place scallops into the skillet until it’s nice and hot.
- Place the scallops into the skillet and allow them to cook, UNTOUCHED, for about 3 minutes until peaking at one and then turning them all over when the bottom is golden brown.
- Cook scallops just until they are done. If they are overcooked they become tough and chewy.
- The sides of the scallops will be white and opaque when they are done.
- Cook scallops in batches if necessary so that they are not crowded and so that you are able to quickly turn scallops when they are done.
- Practice makes perfect!!!
Wilted Spinach for Pan Seared Scallops
When scallops are on the menu, here’s a plan to make a robust meal so that you don’t spend all your dollars on scallops:
- Serve a standard portion of scallops, about 4-5 larger-sized scallops is about 5 ounces.
- Round out the meal with lots of fresh spinach. Add another side of rice (or pasta) with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley stirred in.
Once the scallops are done, remove them to a plate and keep warm. Add olive oil and garlic to pan. There’s no need to clean it first. All the flavors will come together. Add spinach and toss to wilt as much as desired. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon!
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Pan Seared Scallops Recipe over Wilted Spinach
- 20 ounces sea scallops
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 6 ounces baby spinach washed and dried
- Juice from fresh lemon
- Pat sea scallops dry with a paper towel.
- Lightly sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper on the top and bottom.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in a large pan over medium heat.
- Carefully place half the scallops in the pan and allow them to cook, untouched, for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the side touching the pan is lightly browned and has a light brown crust. The sides will be opaque when done.
- Remove scallops to a plate and keep warm.
- Add 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan and repeat process with remaining scallops.
- Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.
- Add garlic and spinach to the pan and turn in pan for 1-2 minutes until wilted.
- Serve scallops over spinach. Squeeze fresh lemon over the top.