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Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter.jpg

This recipe appears in Un-Wine’d, which airs Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. on VPM PBS. Watch past seasons and current episodes on the PBS app or PBS website. Check the broadcast schedule for local listings. Discover more recipes here.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ t. salt
  • ½ t. black pepper
  • ¼ t. Cayenne or ½ t. Red pepper flakes
  • Zest from 1 large lemon
  • ⅔ c. dry white wine
  • ¼ c. Capers, with juice
  • Juice from the large lemon
  • 2 T. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 pounds sea scallops, patted dry
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. olive oil


Step 1:  Melt butter in a large skillet. Continue cooking, over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter becomes a deep golden brown color. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne or pepper flakes, and lemon zest and cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic is cooked but not yet dark brown

Step 2: Pour in the white wine and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the capers and juice. Cook for about 2 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.

Step 3: Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice and parsley. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Hold warm.

Step 4: Rinse scallops with cold water and pat dry with a few sheets of paper towels. If needed, remove the small, tough piece on the side of the scallop.

Step 5: In a large saute pan, heat the butter over high heat. Slowly place the scallops in the very hot pan and cook on each side for about 1 ½ minutes or until a deep golden ring forms on the outside of each scallop. It is important that the scallops are not overcooked but that they have a good color.

Step 6: Plate the scallops and top with the sauce.