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  • fromjudyskitchen

Seared Scallops with Pesto Sauce

If you asked me what my speciality was, I might say that it's how to make perfectly seared scallops. There's nothing I hate more than dried out, overly cooked scallops. Personally, I don't think that they should be deep fried or overly seasoned either. There should be a subtle but pleasant taste of the sea with every bite. While I usually prefer eating them simply with a crap ton of butter (like so), it's kind of exciting for me to figure out what other types of sauces can work with such a delicate type of seafood.

Let me caveat that I am not great when it comes to sauces. Sauces oftentimes take a lot of time and energy. Out of pure laziness, I decided to bust out my mortar and pestle and remake a similar version of my pesto sauce. I referenced this recipe, but added lemon zest and more olive oil. Reminder: It is important to use high quality olive oil to make pesto. It makes all the difference!

Seared Scallops with Pesto Sauce

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Servings: 2

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tbsp pine nuts

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese

  • 1/8 tsp lemon zest

  • Pinch of salt

  • Pinch of black pepper

Scallop Ingredients:

  • 6 large scallops

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

  • Pinch of celery salt

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 1 lemon wedge

  • Microgreens and/or edible flowers (for garnish)

Sauce Directions:

  • If you are using a mortar and pestle, add garlic and pine nuts to mortar. Use pestle to mash. Add basil leaves and rotate between mashing and muddling the ingredients together until they turn into a paste. Add olive oil, cheese, lemon zest, salt, and black pepper. Continue to mash and muddle until the sauce turn into a paste again.

  • ​Note: If you do not have a mortar and pestle, a food processor can be used to make the pesto sauce.

  • Using a spoon, place 6 separate spoonfuls of pesto sauce on your serving plate. Set aside for now.

Scallops Directions:

  • Rinse scallops under cool water. Dry them on paper towels.

  • In a medium to large non-stick pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Spread the butter so the pan is evenly coated.

  • Once butter becomes dark gold/yellow, place scallops on the pan. Let the scallops sit for about ~3 minutes, or until the bottom becomes nicely charred and browned. Turn each scallop over and let sit for another ~3 minutes, or until the bottom becomes nicely charred and browned.

  • Place each scallop over each spoonful of pesto on your serving plate.

  • Garnish plate with microgreens and/or edible flowers.

  • Drizzle olive oil and a light squeeze of lemon over scallops. Sprinkle celery salt over each scallop. Serve warm.


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