Pan Seared Scallops with Brown Butter Lemon and Caper Sauce

Pan Seared Scallops with Brown Butter Lemon and Caper Sauce

Brian CampbellCamfam Cookery
Dad wanted seared scallops buts hates parsnips so I whipped this one up and it turned out to be excellent. Rather than putting the scallops on parsnip cream, I made a brown butter, lemon and caper sauce and coupled them with Butter Lettuce salad with a homemade vinaigrette.
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Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 162 kcal


  • 1 Cast Iron Skillet


For the Scallops

  • 12 large fresh sea scallops – tendons removed. Size:U12-U15 meaning it takes under 12 scallops to make a pound
  • 2 pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil – or avocado or grape seed oil
  • 2 tbsp butter

For the Brown Butter, Lemon, and Caper sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup lemon juice – Minute Maid Frozen is best.
  • ¼ cup capers
  • ¼ cup dry white wine – or dry rose wine


Prep Scallops

  • Soak scallops in 1-quart water, 2 tbsp sea or kosher salt, and 1/4 cup lemon juice for 30 minutes to improve their sear quality and remove any possible treatments.
  • Pat dry the scallops really well, and leave uncovered to further air dry for 30 minutes or so.

Brown Butter, Lemon, and Caper sauce

  • Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the butter begins to turn brown and give off a wonderful nutty aroma then turn the heat to low.
  • Add the wine, lemon juice, and capers and bring to a medium simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Lower to a low simmer until serving.

Sear Scallops

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position, place 12-inch cast-iron skillet on rack, and heat oven to 500˚F. Meanwhile, place scallops in a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels or clean dish towel and top with a second towel; let sit at room temperature.
  • When oven reaches 500˚F, season scallops with salt and pepper. Using potholders, remove skillet from oven and place over medium-high heat; turn off oven. Being careful of hot skillet handle, add 2 tablespoons oil and heat until just smoking. Add half of scallops in single layer, flat side down, and cook, without moving them, until well browned on the first side, about 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops. Continue to cook, using large spoon to baste scallops with melted butter (tilt skillet so butter pools on one side) until sides of scallops are firm and centers are opaque, 30 to 90 seconds (remove smaller scallops as they finish cooking).
  • Transfer scallops to a prep platter and tent with aluminum foil. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels and repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining scallops, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Plate the scallops and using a slotted spoon, drip the capers on top.


Calories: 162kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 14gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 779mgPotassium: 248mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.2gVitamin A: 62IUVitamin C: 0.5mgVitamin E: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mgZinc: 1mg

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