Scalloping along

It is always interesting to cook in someone’s kitchen other than your own. Appliances, pots and pans, utensils and staple ingredients are all unique to a kitchen.

This weekend I spent over at my mother’s place and had the opportunity to make several meals there. It has been a while since I’ve cooked over a gas stove and it didn’t take long to remember how great it is. Turn it on, and it is instantly hot. Turn it off, no longer cooking. Minute changes are easy to see. Someday I might replace my (relatively new) stove, but I’m not holding my breath until then.

Friday night I decided to make scallops. It wasn’t until about five years ago when I had my first scallop. I am so thankful that it was at a quality restaurant and the scallop was delicious, as I have really enjoyed them since.

That decided, I needed some sides. I love scallops on a bed of pasta. I knew my wife wouldn’t eat any (see Carb Loading for Lent) but cooking for mom gave me a ready excuse to have some linguine. I found some asparagus in the fridge, so that was another easy side. My second side (or third for Mom and I) was my Appetizer on the Side (most recent post).

If you haven’t purchased scallops before there are two key things to look for. First, look for dry packed scallops. Dry pack are as they are from the sea. Wet pack scallops are soaked in a solution of preservatives and other item that may alter the taste, color and artificially increase their size. If the vendor you purchase them from doesn’t know if they are wet or dry pack (like my experience Friday afternoon) ask to see the packaging. Second, ask to smell them. If they smell fishy, like any fish purchase, move on.

I found some beautiful, never frozen, dry pack colossal sea scallops. I sprinkled both flat sides of the scallops with salt and pepper.

The asparagus would take the longest, so I preheated the oven to 450 degrees, spread the spears on a griddle pan (you can use a cookie sheet), sprinkled with salt and pepper and drizzled with a little olive oil.

The asparagus went in for 12-15 minutes. The thinner the spears, the lower the time. Next I cooked a bit of the pasta according to its directions, drained, added it back into the pan with 2T of butter and a small sprinkle of garlic powder.

Time for the scallops! I heated a pan over medium high heat and then added about 1T of olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan). I then added the scallops and let them sit for about 3 minutes. The larger the scallops (mine were huge), the longer they will need to cook. You can tell they are ready to turn as the color on the side of the scallop will be less pearl and more white as it cooks. When it is white almost half way up the side, time to turn. CAREFULLY work your spatula under the scallop (it may try to stick and you don’t want to tear off that nice sear) and turn them. Another 3 minutes and pull them out of the pan.

I then added the prepared sauce (see recipe) and reduced that while scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile the asparagus was done, so I removed it from the oven, gave it a quick sprinkle of lemon juice over it and topped it with a few sunflower seeds (pine nuts would have been my go to, but found these in the pantry instead).

I plated the pasta, scallops went on top, sauce over that and asparagus on the side. Beautiful and great eats.

Sautéed Scallops with White Wine Reduction

Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 5 mins | Servings: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces scallops and 2 tablespoons sauce) | Difficulty: easy


  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons light butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Combine first 6 ingredients; set aside.

2. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add scallops; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove scallops from pan; keep warm.

3. Pour wine mixture into pan; cook over medium-high heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Spoon sauce over scallops; sprinkle scallops with parsley.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Fried, Low Carb, Main Dish, Recipes, Seafood, Wine

Author:The Ranting Chef

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6 Comments on “Scalloping along”

  1. March 1, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Wonderful! I’ve been hoping for a simple recipe to try my hand at scallops. Do you have any tips on buying scallops?


    • March 1, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      You should look for dry packed scallops. Wet pack are put in phosphates that increase their weight by absorbing water and making them both more expensive and give you added chemicals. The scallops should look pearly white and should be whole (not shredded or torn). Ask to smell them and if they smell fishy, pass them by.

      They are so easy and so delicious. The smaller ones are great if they are for appetizers or part of the dish (mixed seafood grill for instance). The larger ones should be the star of any plate.


  2. April 13, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    Looks delicous! Thanks for the advice on buying scallops. The low quality ones seem kind of pricey anyway, so if I ever buy them they might as well be good!


  3. September 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Good tips here on the scallops and if you can, buy them live in the shell and hand dived rather than trawled. More environmentally friendly and cleaner and fresher tasting too. As with all fresh molluscs the shell should close tight when the top and bottom gently squeezed together, if not then as you say pass them by,.


  4. February 8, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Hey! I have a question… I’ve read (ok I think really only from Alton Brown, but I hold him as an authority and I’m not ashamed of that) that buying frozen shrimp is better than buying fresh shrimp if you don’t live near the ocean (I guess the argument is that they won’t be fresh enough to really enjoy). Do you think the same thing would hold true for scallops or would it not even be worthwhile? I’ve never made them before, but always wanted to try! Thanks!


    • February 8, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      I would have to agree that scallops should work the same way. I’d think that they start to degrade once caught and freezing stops that process.


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