One of our “Bounty of the Sea” recipes 

Seafood is high in protein, a source of omega-3 fats and rich in nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B2 and selenium. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating fish or seafood at least twice a week. Here’s a fresh and healthy seared scallops recipe, courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen.

Why This Seared Scallops Recipe Works

Serves four to six

Seared scallops make for an ideal quick meal, as they cook in just a few minutes on the stovetop and have a mild flavor that works well with a wide variety of other ingredients. For this dish, we decided to punch up the scallops’ mellow sweetness with a bold vinaigrette made with citrus, cilantro and red pepper flakes. When searing the scallops, we found that trying to cook them all at once made the pan too crowded and caused them to steam. We found that waiting to add the scallops to the skillet until the oil was beginning to smoke, cooking the scallops in two batches instead of one, and switching to a nonstick skillet allowed them all to achieve a deep golden-brown crust. Sweet, bright and tangy, this dish is the perfect centerpiece for a light meal — even on a busy weeknight. Be sure to purchase dry scallops for this recipe. 

Seared scallops with orange-lime dressing recipe
Photo: Daniel J. van Ackere for America’s Test Kitchen

Shopping List

  • 1½ pounds large sea scallops, tendons removed
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Seared Scallops with Orange-lime Dressing

  1. Place scallops in a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel. Place a second clean kitchen towel on top of scallops and press gently on a towel to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature, covered with the towel, for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk ¼ cup oil, orange juice, lime juice, shallot, cilantro and pepper flakes together in a bowl. Season with salt to taste and set aside for serving.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the scallops to the skillet in a single layer and cook, without moving them, until well browned on first side, about 1½ minutes. Flip scallops and continue to cook, without moving them, until well browned on second side, about 1½ minutes. Transfer scallops to a serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining scallops. Whisk dressing to recombine and serve with scallops.

Top image: Photo by Daniel J. van Ackere for America’s Test Kitchen.


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