Scallops are one of my favorite types of seafood because they are so easy to cook; they have a lovely delicate flavor and always make me feel like I'm having a fancy meal ... even if I'm just having a casual dinner at home.
Technique tip: The lemon butter can be stored in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer for up to two months, or in the fridge for about a week.
Lemon Butter (makes 1 cup)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound dry sea scallops (about 12-15 scallops), side muscle removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon butter (recipe above)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, for garnish
For the lemon butter:
In a medium bowl combine the butter, lemon zest, juice and salt and stir until smooth. Spoon the butter onto the lower third of a piece of parchment paper. Fold the paper over the butter and use a spatula to compress the butter into a log, about 5 to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.
Fold the seam of the paper down the log and twist both ends of the paper to seal the butter inside. Freeze the butter until firm before using, at least 30 minutes.
For the scallops:
1. Place the scallops on a paper towel lined sheet tray and pat dry. Season the scallops with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat a large nonstick sauté pan to medium-high, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the scallops and sear on one side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Gently turn the scallops over and add the lemon butter, basting them by gently spooning the melting butter over the scallops, for about a minute. Add the wine and allow the scallops to simmer until they are cooked through, about another 1-2 minutes.
4. Transfer the scallops to a platter and sprinkle with the chives.