Seared Scallops with Garlic Basil Butter
How to make restaurant-worthy scallops at home. These pan seared scallops with garlic basil butter take less than 10 minutes and taste incredible! Jump to the Seared Scallops with Garlic Basil Butter Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
Scallops are one of the simplest kinds of seafood to cook. They’re just as easy as shrimp. We use the same method to prepare these garlic basil scallops as we use when making our garlic butter shrimp with cilantro and lime.
How to Cook Scallops like a Pro
There’s no need to be intimidated. Scallops are simple to prepare, promise. With a few tricks, you’ll be cooking them like a pro in no time.
Here’s how to cook scallops like the pros:
Use a paper towel to pat the scallops as dry as possible. The drier they are, the better they will sear. Everyone loves that brown sear, right? Starting with dry scallops is the answer.
For an extra fail-safe, add a light dusting of flour. The flour absorbs excess moisture and adds a nice golden brown crust after cooking in a hot pan.
Season with salt and pepper and do it on both sides. We season one side out of the pan, place the scallops seasoned side down into the hot pan then while that side cooks, we season the other side.
You need a hot pan. If the scallops aren’t sizzling when you place them into the frying pan, it isn’t hot enough.
Finish with butter, garlic, and herbs. Scallops already taste incredible, but adding a bit of creamy butter, garlic and fresh herbs at the end of cooking makes them restaurant worthy.
When it comes to buying scallops, look for larger sea scallops. They are sweet and work beautifully in this recipe.
If you can, buy fresh scallops. Otherwise, frozen scallops will do the trick. The easiest and safest way to thaw them is to place them in the refrigerator the night before you plan to cook them. For a quicker solution, you can add the scallops to a sealed bag and put them in a large bowl under cold running water. Move the bag around the bowl every so often until the scallops have defrosted. Assume they will take half-an-hour, or so.
Don’t let the water get into the bag. Remember that to get the best sear on scallops they need to be as dry as possible. Frozen scallops will have a bit more moisture so take extra care when patting them dry.
And there you have it, how to cook scallops like a professional chef. Stick with our flavors of butter, garlic, and basil or try something else. Fresh thyme, tarragon or something spicy like jalapeno is an excellent idea.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Our baked salmon recipe with lemon and dill takes less than 30 minutes and makes the most perfect tender salmon. By gently baking salmon in a small amount of liquid, the fish stays moist and tender. It practically melts in your mouth.
Seared Scallops with Garlic Basil Butter
Scallops cook quickly — within 5 minutes — and are best when enjoyed straight-away. If you’re serving them with pasta, vegetables or rice, make sure they are ready before cooking the scallops. Basil adds a lovely sweetness to the butter sauce, but if it is not available, a few fresh thyme sprigs will do the trick.
You Will Need
12 large sea scallops, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, optional, see notes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons oil, such as olive oil, avocado oil or grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 to 4 lemon slices
Use a paper towel to pat the scallops dry. Dust one side of the scallops with a small amount of flour, and then season with salt and pepper.
Heat a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan. When the oil is hot and shimmery, carefully place the scallops, seasoned-side-down, into the pan. Cook, without moving them until browned, about 2 minutes.
While the first side is browning, dust the unseasoned side of the scallops with a bit of flour and season them with salt and pepper.
Flip the scallops — if any stick to the pan, wait a few more seconds then try again, gently wiggling them side to side to help release them. Add the butter and garlic to the pan, and then swirl the butter around the pan as it melts.
Cook another minute or two then take the pan off of the heat. Stir in the basil leaves and lemon slices. Serve.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Do I need to use flour: If you don’t want to use the flour, it’s okay. It helps with even browning, and since some of the flour sticks to the bottom of the pan, it mixes with the butter, helping to thicken the garlic basil butter sauce. If you are gluten-free or don’t want to get out the flour, make sure the scallops are as dry as you can get them for the best chance at a good sear.
- Thawing frozen scallops: The easiest and safest way to thaw them is to place them in the refrigerator the night before you plan to cook them. For a quicker solution, you can add them to a sealed bag and put them in a large bowl under cold running water. Move the bag around the bowl every so often until the scallops have defrosted. Assume they will take half-an-hour, or so. Don’t let the water get into the bag.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.