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Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce and delicious brown crust is a wonderful way of treating yourself to a fancy meal without a ton of effort.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Caper, Garlic, Lemon, scallops
Servings: 2
  • 8 Large Sea Scallops about 1/2 lb
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter divided
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest approx 1/2 lemon
  • 1 TBS Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 TBS capers
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  • Heat 2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil and 1 TBS of butter in a large skillet over medium-high.
  • When the foaming of the butter starts to subside, add the scallops to the pan one by one.
  • Leave the scallops undisturbed for about 2 minutes. A deep golden crust should form on the bottoms
  • Turn each scallop over and cook on the other side and cook an additional two minutes
  • Remove the scallops from the pan and transfer to a clean plate. Loosely cover with foil to keep warm
  • Add garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until golden brown (about 2 minutes). If necessary, reduce the heat to keep garlic from burning.
  • Add wine and bring to a simmer. Swirl the pan and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of skillet, until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  • Add chicken stock, turn the heat back to bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Let simmer for a minute or two, until it reduces to about half. Add the capers and lemon juice and stir to combine.
  • Remove from heat again, and add the remaining butter.
  • Swirl around the pan until melted — it should thicken the sauce a bit.
  • Return the scallops to the pan, add parsley, and turn the scallops around in the sauce to fully coat.


There are two keys to getting a nice golden brown crust on your scallops.  The first is to be sure to buy "dry" scallops (see blog post for discussion.)
The second key to getting a nice, crusty, restaurant quality sear on your scallops is for them to be dry before you put them in the pan. 
Take them out of the refrigerator, un wrap them and place them on a plate lined with paper towels.  This will absorb some of the surface moisture on the scallops. 
Take another paper towel, fold it up a couple of times, and dab the tops of the scallops to dry the rest of them.  The more moisture you can get from the surface, the better crust you will get on your scallops.