Seared Scallops with Creamy Basil Pesto Sauce is so simple and looks so impressive on a plate. I garnished these beauties with a little squeeze of lemon juice and zest to bring out some brightness. Serve with your favorite pasta or roasted veggies for a whole meal.
To properly sear scallops, you’ll need a heavy bottomed skillet like a cast iron skillet or a stainless steel pan. These are the best conductors of high heat to give your scallops a nice crusty golden sear.
You want to make sure your pan is nice and hot before adding your oil and scallops to the pan. When turning, don’t try to force the scallops, if they’re stuck to the pan wait a few more seconds before trying to turn them again, they’ll release from the pan when they’re ready. Also, make sure the scallops are completely pat dry. They’ll turn out perfectly cooked every time you follow these simple steps.
Serve for an elegant date night meal or for an impressive appetizer. Either way it will be perfect for any occasion.
Seared Scallops with Creamy Basil Pesto Sauce
The key to a nice golden sear on scallops is to dry them thoroughly. Make sure when you go to buy them they're dry packed and not sitting in liquid. This makes them retain the moisture and then they won't brown.
- 1 pound Large Scallops, completely pat dry
- Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper, for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1/2 cup Basil Pesto, homemade or store bought
- Lemon, zested for garnish
- Parsley, chopped for garnish
- Step 1 In a medium sized cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan heat to high heat. Season the scallops with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
- Step 2 Add oil and scallops to the pan. Sear 2 minutes on one side until golden brown and 1 minute on the other side. Remove to a serving plate.
- Step 3 Meanwhile, in a sauce pan heat cream over medium heat. Simmer until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Turn heat off and whisk in pesto.
- Step 4 Spoon pesto sauce over scallops and garnish with lemon zest and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Try to look for “dry” packed scallops. Avoid any scallops that are sitting in liquid. This will hinder the sear you want.
Make sure you thoroughly pat dry the scallops before seasoning.
Scallops won’t get that beautiful caramelized crust unless the outside is dry.
You can prepare the sauce easily before or after the scallops cook or if you’re good at multi-tasking you can make it during.
Savor and Enjoy!