Hello friends! And happy Wednesday! I just took a COVID19 test, to make sure I’m hunky dory before I leave for Ohio to visit my family later this week. So if I’m a little loopy, it’s because my brain just got jabbed with a q-tip!
But I digress…
They are a delicacy! Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, and deliciously dignified. However…if you cook them even for just a few seconds too long, they become rubbery and ick.
And as a result, many people shy away from cooking them! For fear of ruining such a revered — and, let’s be honest, not the cheapest — seafood dinner.
But friends, I have found the fail proof method for cooking scallops – to get that perfect crust, and not a rubbery bite in sight!
Perhaps, you could call me the scallop whisperer. 🙂
For this meal, I made an incredible — and incredibly EASY — pesto sauce, over noodles (bow tie pasta for him, zucchini noodles for me)…and served with a beautiful caprese salad. (I made this at the tail end of August when the basil and tomatoes were at their peak!)
And the verdict? Let’s just say there was not a scallop left to behold. Between the two of us, we put away an entire POUND! I’d call that a win 🙂
And! This meal is gluten free, paleo, keto, and Specific Carbohydrate Diet friendly as well!
Here’s What You Need: (serves 2)
Noodles of choice
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese (SCD omit)
1 Ripe tomato, sliced
10 leaves fresh basil
Fresh mozzerella (either the mini balls; or the big ball, sliced) (SCD: omit)
Good extra virgin olive oil
Good balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 lb sea scallops, cleaned
salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Good Chef’s Knife – (this is the one I use and absolutely love)
Nonstick frying pan
Directions: Start by making your pesto. I go the extra step of toasting the pine nuts — I think it gives it an incredible depth of flavor. But it is optional. Throw all the ingredients (minus the cheese and olive oil) into the food processor, Then, as the food processor is going, drizzle in the olive oil, until it becomes smooth and creamy. (If making for a dairy free person, at this point, remove 1/2 of the pesto for them.) Then, add the cheese and pulse until just incorporated. (You don’t want the heat of the machine to melt the cheese).
Meanwhile, cook your noodles, and also – prepare your caprese salad. I slice thick slices of tomato, and alternate them with basil leaves and slices of mozzerella. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Finally, to cook the scallops: you want them to be bone dry. So after you rinse them, put them on a paper towel, and dry them completely with another paper towel. Sprinkle the one side with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. (You’ll season the other side when it’s in the pan.)
Next, you want your pan to be very hot. Add about 2 Tbsp Olive oil or avocado oil to a large nonstick pan. Heat until right before it starts smoking. Then starting at the “12 o’clock” position, place your scallops one by one clockwise around the pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. Once they are all placed in, let them sear untouched for 1:45. (Set a timer, it goes fast!)
Then, using tongs, start again at the 12 o’clock position and flip each scallop going clock wise.
Set another timer and let cook for another 1:30. At this time, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and drizzle with the juice of half a lemon.
After a minute and 30 seconds, take them off the pan and put on a plate to rest. (Otherwise they will continue to cook on the pan.)
Lastly, toss your pasta with the pesto. (If using “real” pasta, save about 1/4 cup of the pasta water to use to create a rich and creamy pesto sauce.
To plate: Top your pesto noodles with half of the scallops. Drizzle with additional lemon juice, sprinkle with fresh basil, and enjoy!
I’m going to just go right out and say it: these scallops were hands down, one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. And I know, I know, I’ve been saying that a lot. Perhaps it’s my appreciation for good seafood. Perhaps it’s because I’m in love haha. BUT – these scallops were amazing.
They have this mildly sweet undertone, and buttery flavor that just pairs positively perfectly with the pesto! AND THAT CRUST! My, my, my — it was crispy, and had a rich olive oil flavor that was so satisfying. I just absolutely loved it.
And the pesto was just the right accompaniment. The fresh basil added a brightness to the dish that really made my tastebuds dance!
And you can’t go wrong with a caprese salad. Not when the tomatoes were so juicy they were just begging for a slice of bacon, lettuce, and two mayo’d sliced of white toast. Or in this case…fresh mozz and basil. 😉
So – there you have it. My secret to perfectly seared scallops every time. Make this recipe! Tonight! You’ll be amazed at how EASY it is, and how gourmet are the results!
Have an awesome evening, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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23 responses to “Perfectly Seared Pesto Scallops”
It looks delicious but that is one seafood I cannot get a taste for, and maybe it’s the texture, happy you all enjoyed them
Thank you so much Alice! I feel ya – seafood is a very personal preference! Glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox
This looks absolutely amazing!
Hi Amy! Oh gosh thank you so much! This dish was such a treat – scallops are my favorite food! What’s yours?? Have a lovely evening! Hugs and love xox
Thanks so much Gabriel! I certainly thought so! Have an awesome night! Hugs and love xox
The list of items for the airlift keeps getting longer 🙂
Hahahah I’ll start preparing the dry ice 🙂 thanks for stopping by! Hope you’re having an awesome evening! Hugs and love xox
Very long ago, I used to go diving for my own abalone and other shellfish. But, even in our world-renowned nutrition rich waters, scallops were thinly spread so we never harvested them. I thus never tasted it. Lucky you if you have an abundant supply. Due to Oriental men with a tiny problem, they had so poached the abalone resources that the ocean was left bare. And they pay in drugs, not cash, thereby staggering the problem and leading to infamous gangster wars. Al Capone all over again.
Scallops and perhaps all shellfish and things from the octopii family should never be overcooked, yes. Ditto caramari (wrongly pron calamari) which gets cooked to something inedible when fried in oil. It just takes three douses with boiling hot water through a strainer and it’s done.
We actually never seen people eat scallops; I first saw that on Masterchef Australia. Yes, what an exotic, exclusive delicacy it must be. Which region do you guys source it from?
Oh my gosh that’s so cool that you use to dive for them! I hope you can find a local source for them because they are wonderful! I don’t know where we source them. I but them from my fish monger! Hugs and love xox
The nice thing about city life….always blueberries fresh from the shelf! I quite think one should not overindulge as these are filter feeders that may be accumulating soluble heavy metals, which is why the Laws of Moses prescribed fish with both “fins and scales.” I know that other shellfish such as white or black mussels could be affected by minerals in the water. We had the lowest ebb tide in some 121 years around year 2000 and harvested humungous black mussels right in front of our then home.
Thanks Sheree! These were such a treat! I loved the pesto! Hugs and love xox
Wow! You reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally know how to serve up something that iz deeeeeeeeeeeeeeelishus.
Hey, Scallop-Whisperer! You have touched on and beautifully photographed my favorite food obsession. If anyone ever somehow proved that Jesus did not arise from the dead, I would be the first one in the door of the Church of the Holy Scallop! 😀
Hoping your brain injury from the swab does not affect your travel to parents in Ohio. Your “gentleman friend” looks passable from this distance (actually he IS disgustingly handsome), but make sure he knows you’ve got an army of friends who will not take kindly to him if he ever offends you. (just teasin’ of course! 😉 )
Praying for safe travels for both of you, and blessings on your visit.
Wow, those look like some perfectly seared scallops! Thank you for sharing. Your recipes are the best!
aw thank you Katie! i must say, they were seared to absolutely fabulousness! hahah 🙂 you’re kind to say that! Hugs and love xox
thank you Jolie! oh my gosh it was such a treat! so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox
Those look amazing.
scallops are my favorite! thanks Amanda! Hugs and love xox