Pan Seared Scallops with Garlic Cream Sauce is an elegant yet easy dish that is perfect for a special occasion or any week-night dinner.
In less than 30 minutes you can have beautifully caramelized scallops in a rich and flavorful cream sauce. Using a handful of simple ingredients that maximize flavors this one pan dish will turn your kitchen into a high-end restaurant! Your guests will be blown away with this amazing dish.
Scallops are delicate and may seem like an intimidating protein to cook, but they are quite simple. I’ll share some tricks that will give you a perfect caramelized crust every time. Pair the perfect texture and sear with a flavorful and versatile sauce like this garlic cream sauce and you have a winning dish that will become a staple in your home.
Preparing The Scallops:
Call this a New England thing or maybe just a me thing but I ALWAYS remove the little muscle tag on the side of the scallops. I’ve seen so many recipes and pictures where the tag is left on – NO!! By touch alone you can tell this little tag has a tougher texture than the rest of the scallop. So imagine that cooked up, not a pleasant bite. A quick pinch and these tags are gone.
Next you’ll want to give the scallops a quick rinse and make sure they are nice and dry. I typically place the scallops on a paper towel and add another on top. Dry scallops ensure a crispy and caramelized sear. Lightly season with salt and pepper and you’re ready to cook.
Cooking The Scallops:
Picking the right pan is important. You want something that can sustain high heat. My go-to is a cast iron skillet – LOVE IT for just about everything! Stainless steel is another good pan for searing, so if you’re not sure what to use – grab that. You want the pan to be screaming hot so the scallops start coloring right away. I add a little bit of grass-fed butter and look for a slight smoke to omit, that tells me it’s hot enough to cook. Once the scallops are down do not move them until they are ready to flip. I usually cook for 3 minutes per side.
Preparing The Sauce:
This garlic cream sauce is a versatile sauce – you could use it on so many proteins and even veggies. Once you’ve mastered a good basic cream sauce you can start to play around with flavor profiles. Before you know it you’ll have 5 variations that will blow your taste buds away!
To compliment the perfectly seared buttery scallops a rich garlic cream sauce is made right in the pan the scallops were seared in. There are so many wonderful flavors left in that pan so we want to scrape all those aromas together when incorporating our garlic, white wine, cream, fresh lemon juice and of course salt and pepper. Together those flavors will simmer into a thick and velvety sauce. Transfer the scallops back to the sauce, allow it to marinade together. Plate and enjoy!
Pan Seared Scallops with Garlic Cream Sauce is an elegant yet easy dish that is perfect for a special occasion or any week-night dinner. In 30 minutes or less you can have beautifully caramelized scallops in a rich and flavorful cream sauce. This one pan dish will leave you feeling like you dined at a high-end restaurant!
- 1 pound large sea scallops, 1 1/2 inches wide, about 14 to 16 scallops
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4-5 large garlic cloves minced or 2 tbsp garlic paste
- salt and fresh pepper, season to taste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or you can use chicken stock
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- parsley or basil for garnish
Give the scallops a quick rinse and check to see if the muscle tag is connected on the side. If so, give a quick pinch and remove all the tags. Pat the scallops dry. This is an important step so make sure you have removed all moisture, this helps get a crispy golden crust. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Place your cast iron skillet or pan of choice over high heat. Make sure the pan is screaming hot. Add oil and 2 tbsp butter, when melted and omitting a light smoke add your first scallop. The scallop should sizzle immediately, if not remove and wait a minute or two more.
Add all scallops to the pan, avoid over crowding. Cook in batches if needed. Once you put the scallops down (seasoned side down in butter) do not touch again until ready to flip. Scallops cook quickly, you only need about 3 minutes per side. Flip - season lightly with salt and pepper and cook additional 3 minutes. Remove from pan and prepare garlic cream sauce.
Add the remaining butter, once melted add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and add wine, scraping up all the goodness from searing the scallops. Let the wine boil and cook off for a few minutes. Add cream and stir - allow everything to incorporate. Lastly add lemon juice and more salt and pepper to taste. Return the scallops to sauce. Allow to simmer on low for a minute. Top with chopped parsley and or basil and plate. Enjoy!