Scallops are my favorite seafood, and I recently learned they are not just tender and delicious, but also super easy to cook!
Not sure why I waited this long to cook scallops on the regular. They’re always among the priciest item on the menu when I go out to eat, so I assumed that only trained chefs would have the skill to make them spectacular. Not true!
We ordered scallops recently off Instacart, a popular grocery delivery service that we subscribed to shortly after Riley was born. The scallops were from Whole Foods, so I had a lot of trust that they were fresh. But clearly I wasn’t paying enough attention when I submitted the order, because I unwrapped the package to discover about 100 adorably tiny bay scallops (the equivalent of about 1 lb.) instead of 1 lb. of much larger sea scallops. Ooops.
Fortunately it all worked out… in the end. We did some Googling and YouTubing, but our first effort at cooking the bay scallops didn’t go as well as hoped. We didn’t use enough oil/butter (be sure you have enough to coat your pan), and didn’t cook them long enough (they should be white inside once cooked), and didn’t have the sear we were hoping to achieve (which is really essential to a tasty scallop). Add these issues to the fact that we coated them with flour and it was kind of a mucky mess. Ugh.
This recipe has been tweaked so that you’re left with a wonderful sear, but the scallops retain their buttery tenderness. Tips are included along the way in the recipe. You’re welcome. 😉
We paired the scallops with Coconut Rice, topped with Mango Coulis, and a side of roasted asparagus. Delicious! And seriously healthy. Okay, there IS some butter here, but Julia Child would be damn proud.
Our toddler dove right in to gobble them up, and things went well until we added pan sauce on TOP of the second serving of scallops (instead of right next to them). Then she had an epic fit and refused to eat any more.
Our 9-month-old Riley was OBSESSED with the scallops and noisily motioned for more whenever her tray was empty. I cut them into quarters before serving them to her… likely totally unnecessary given how soft they are, but choking hazards are still top-of-mind for me. You could also trim any heavily-seared portions (don’t throw them away please – EAT THEM) if you’re concerned that the sear will make it tough for your baby to chew them.
We stored the leftovers in the fridge and reheated them for Riley the next day. Next time I’d use the leftovers to make a fantastic seafood fritter – also a great use for any leftover Coconut Rice!
Good luck with your scallops; let me know how they turn out!
- 1 pound bay scallops
- ½ cup flour
- 4-8 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
- 4-8 tablespoons unsalted butter for cooking
- 1 lemon juiced
- 6 sprigs thyme
Rinse your scallops with water, then thoroughly pat dry.
Use a paring knife to remove the small muscle that’s attached to the scallops. It’s slightly more white than the rest of the scallops, and very chewy – so don’t skip this step.
Put the scallops in a bowl and lightly coat with salt and pepper.
Add the flour to the bowl and mix well to completely coat all of the scallops. Discard any remaining flour.
Depending on the size of your pan, you’ll need to cook the scallops in 2-4 batches. For each batch, cooking over medium heat, add approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice and the leaves from 1 sprig of thyme to your pan. Increase the quantities as needed to ensure the bottom of your pan is coated in oil/butter.
Add the scallops to your warm pan (if a drop of water splatters when it hits the pan, it’s hot enough). Don’t crowd the scallops! There should be space between the scallops so they cook evenly and can be turned when needed.
Sear the scallops for about 2 minutes, or just until they’re golden brown on one side. Then, turn over the scallops and sear for an additional 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Don’t overcook the scallops or they’ll become tough and chewy.
Remove the scallops from the hot pan and transfer to a plate covered in a paper towel, to absorb excess oil/butter.
Drizzle additional lemon juice over the cooked scallops (to taste), and add the leaves of 2 sprigs of parsley. Mix gently to combine.