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Pan-Seared Scallops with a Special Thai Sauce

User Rating 5 Star Rating (3 Reviews)


Scallops searing in a pan
Jason Poole/E+/Getty Images
This scallop recipe will teach you everything you need to know to cook fantastic pan-seared scallops. Very gourmet, this appetizer is surprisingly easy to make - the cooking time is literally 10 minutes! And the results? If you like seafood, you're going to fall in love with these melt-in-your-mouth scallops, as well as the sumptuously simple sauce that accompanies them. Great for serving at a dinner party as an appetizer, or for a romantic tapas for two. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes


  • 8-10 medium OR 4-5 large sea scallops (SERVES 2 for an Appetizer or Tapas plate)
  • 2 Tbsp. oil for frying
  • salt and pepper
  • SAUCE:
  • 3 Tbsp. good-tasting oil, such as coconut, canola, or olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian/Chinese food stores)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced (OR substitute 1/4 red bell pepper)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if not using fresh chili)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut milk OR 2 tsp. butter
  • optional: 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • bed of mixed garden green, plus Thai herbs (fresh basil and coriander)
  • wedges of fresh cut lime


  1. Rinse scallops and pat dry. Place on a clean, dry surface.
  2. Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat (allow pan to warm up at least 1 minute). While the pan is warming up, use a paper towel or clean tea towel to gently dab any remaining moisture from the scallops. Tip: The scallops must be very dry before frying in order to achieve a good sear.
  3. Add 2 Tbsp. oil to the wok (or frying pan) and swirl around.
  4. Gently place the scallops in the pan, leaving enough space between so you'll have room to turn. Allow the scallops to cook undisturbed for at least 2 minutes (trying to turn them too early will cause skin to tear). Larger scallops may take as long as 3-4 minutes per side. While scallops are cooking, season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
  5. Use an egg-turner to gently turn the scallops. Season once more with salt and pepper. Scallops are done when both sides have a nice crispy-looking crust and are firm to the touch. Also, you will see them 'open' slightly, as though they are going to flake.
  6. Remove scallops from the wok/pan and place on paper towel or clean tea towel to drain.
  7. Place all sauce ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat-high. Stirring occasionally, warm the sauce for 1-2 minutes only - just long enough to bring out the flavor of the garlic and turn the fresh chili (or bell pepper) bright red. Avoid cooking the sauce.
  8. Remove from heat and taste-test, adding a little more fish sauce if not salty enough (1 tsp.), or a little more lime juice if too salty. Add a little sugar if too sour.
  9. Place the scallops on a bed of lettuce and/or herbs such as fresh coriander and basil. Pour or spoon the sauce over the scallops.
  10. Serve this entree on its own, with rice, or with a little French bread to soak up the juices. ENJOY!

Recommended Wine: If you're planning a romantic dinner for two or a dinner party, try pairing this appetizer with a nice chilled Viognier.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
A definite keeper recipe, Member a.moran

I made this as an appetizer for a group of 10 and it was a great success. It was extremely easy to make (the instructions are perfect) and still had a huge WOW factor. I used the bell pepper and cayenne pepper and I used cold press olive oil.

14 out of 14 people found this helpful.

See all 3 reviews

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