This easy recipe for scallops in lemon butter sauce makes a restaurant quality dinner in no time. Seared scallops in a delicate sauce topped with a dusting of parmesan cheese…a dinner party caliber meal that is quick enough for weeknights too!
Scallops are the Southern husband’s favorite, and lemon is the Southern husband’s favorite. Butter and cheese are two of my favorites, so I knew if I put all of these things together in one light and lovely recipe for scallops in lemon butter sauce, I pretty much couldn’t go wrong.
And bonus points – this recipe takes about 15 minutes tops from walking into your kitchen to sitting down at your table (I love it when that happens!). Ready for dinner party deliciousness that is quick enough for a Monday school night? Let’s make it!
You want nice big sea scallops for this recipe, and ideally you want dry scallops (read more about what that means here). You also want the best butter you can find (we love KerryGold in this house), the best Parmesan cheese you can find (I’m still hoarding my current piece that my friend Alessandra brought me back from Italy), some garlic and a nice plump lemon.
A handful of fresh parsley and some salt and pepper. I always go for the best ingredients I can find for any recipe, but when you are working with just a few ingredients that becomes even more important. My cooking words of wisdom for the day!
You are going to sear the scallops in some of that good butter, and here’s the trick to that: put them in the pan and don’t move them until you are ready to flip them over. That way you get that nice deep golden sear. After the scallops are done, all you need to so is whisk in a little more butter with the garlic and lemon to make a quick sauce.
We had ours with some nice thick asparagus, but you could serve this over baby spinach, or buttered polenta, or linguine…whatever your heart desires. Sprinkle with some parsley and grated parmesan (I grated nice wide bits of cheese for ours) and you are ready to be all kinds of elegant with your supper. Scallops in lemon butter sauce…it doesn’t get much better – or easier! – than this!Print
- 1 pound dry sea scallops (see note)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
For the sauce
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Juice and zest from one lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Pat the scallops dry and season them with a sprinkle of salt and pepper on both sides.
- Put two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and melt over medium high heat. When the butter is melted and sizzling, place the scallops in the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Sear them without moving them for a minute or two on each side – you want them a nice golden to dark brown. Take them out of the pan and set them aside.
- Add 3 tablespoons of butter, the garlic, and the lemon juice and zest to the pan and whisk until butter is melted.
- Divide the scallops among warmed plates and drizzle generously with the lemon butter sauce. Sprinkle some parsley and cheese on top and serve at once.
Ask for dry scallops at your fish counter – these are scallops that have not been treated with chemicals, which can impact the taste. Here’s a handy link that explains more!