Seared Scallops with Creamy Lemon-Caper Sauce – this recipe is all about how to make the best seared scallops and not worry about them being rubbery or dry! This is achieved by 1) cooking the scallops on stove top using the proper technique, and 2) coating them in a creamy sauce to keep them moist and to add more flavor!
When cooking scallops, it’s important to cook them really fast on a really hot skillet and then immediately remove them from the skillet (not just remove the skillet from heat). This ensures that the scallops retain their nice golden crust and are not overcooked (rubbery).
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Scallops are really good in a creamy sauce, and I made a simple cream sauce using butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, capers, some salt to taste, and, of course, heavy cream. Make sure to prepare this sauce first, and cook scallops second, in a separate large skillet.
I used my favorite stainless steel skillet to cook scallops. When heated up to the right (high) temperature and used properly, stainless steel skillets produce beautiful searing results.
1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed, more if desired
salt to taste
1 pound medium size scallops (about 12-14 scallops), thawed completely if frozen
2 tablespoons olive oil
How to make creamy lemon-caper sauce:
In a medium skillet, heat butter, olive oil and minced garlic on medium heat. Cook for about a minute, until garlic softens. Add heavy cream, bring to boil and cook for a couple of minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit. Remove from heat. Stir in drained capers and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Taste, add more lemon juice and salt, if needed. Keep covered.
How to cook perfect pan-seared scallops:
If using frozen scallops, make sure the scallops are thawed completely.
Blot each scallop with paper towels to remove extra water.
Season with salt by sprinkling each scallop with a dash of salt.
Use a large, non-stick skillet (I used stainless steel skillet which works well for me as non-stick). Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in this non-stick skillet on high heat until hot but not smoking. Oil should not be smoking, just rolling easily around the skillet.
Add scallops without overcrowding the pan.
Sear on one side for about 3-4 minutes until the bottom is nice golden color. Don't move the scallops around the pan in the beginning.
Turn the scallops to the other side and cook for 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat and transfer the scallops to the plate immediately. Don't let the scallops sit in the hot skillet, off heat, because they will start to steam, lose their crust and harden up.
Add cooked capers to the cream sauce and reheat gently. Serve.