Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce
Updated Feb 10, 2023
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Scallops are healthy, super easy and delicious to make at home. These restaurant-worthy scallops are pan seared and topped with a delicious citrus ginger sauce. They’re so tender and smooth they’ll melt in your mouth!
Scallops (Pan Seared)
Pan seared scallops have always been my mom’s favorite recipes. If they’re are on the menu at a nice restaurant, I guarantee that’s what she’ll be ordering. She knows what she likes!
Scallops can be a bit pricey, especially for fresh, wild ones so they can be a bit intimidating to cook at home. But the funny thing is they’re one of the easiest seafood items to cook. Just sear both sides make a quick sauce and you’re done! They’re perfect for when you want a special, celebratory or indulgent meal at home.
Most scallops are prepared with a simple garlic butter sauce, but I’m personally a fan of this citrus ginger sauce. It’s light, refreshing, sweet and spicy all at the same time.
Are Scallops Good for You?
Yes! Scallops are high in protein (they’re actually 80% protein) and important vitamin and nutrients, such as B12, magnesium and potassium. They also contain a good amount of iron and calcium and per serving they’re low in calories. A 3.5 ounce serving contains just 110 calories.
Scallops are related to clams and oysters as they’re all mollusks, but they’re lower in cholesterol and low in mercury.
Frozen versus Fresh Scallops – Which is Best?
I’m fortunate that I live close to the ocean and have access to many great fishmongers. So I always splurge on fresh, wild sea scallops. But I understand that many might not have that same accessibility.
While fresh is always best, frozen scallops are still packed with the same health benefits, so don’t let that deter you. If you do purchase frozen scallops, just thaw them in the fridge the night before you’d like to cook them.
What’s the texture of Scallops?
When cooked right, scallops are soft, tender and delicate. They’re not slimy, chewy and they shouldn’t smell fishy (if yours do, that likely means they’re not fresh). I’d say the texture is similar to crab or lobster, but more buttery smooth.
How to Cook Scallops
Scallops cook incredibly fast so it’s key that you don’t overcook them. Remember that different varieties can range in size (sea scallops can be three times bigger than bay scallops) so always adjust the time accordingly. This scallop recipe is based on using larger sea scallops.
- Blot the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt.
- Add avocado oil to a pan and heat on high until it’s very hot and sizzling (*see notes below on different oils).
- Place the scallops in the pan and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes each side, until golden.
- Remove the scallops to a plate and add butter, orange juice, lemon juice and ginger to the pan until simmering.
- Place the scallops back in the pan, drizzle the sauce over the scallops and garnish with fresh thyme before serving.
For More Healthy Seafood Recipes
Watch This Quick Video of My Scallops Recipe
Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 1/2 lb sea scallops
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp butter, or ghee
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh thyme, for garnish
- Pat your scallops dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them with sea salt.
- Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. When the oil is nearly smoking, place your scallops in the pan and sear for approximately one and a half to two minutes on each side. Remove scallops to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the orange and lemon juice, orange zest, grated ginger and butter to the pan. Whisk the sauce together in the pan until it's simmering, then add the scallops back to the pan and spoon the sauce on top.
- Plate your scallops, drizzle more sauce on top and garnish with thyme.
- Avocado oil is preferred over olive oil in this recipe as its heated to nearly its smoke point. Avocado oil is more stable at those higher temperatures.
- Scallops are always best slightly undercooked rather than overcooked. Like most meats and fish, they'll continue to cook after they're removed from the stove.
- To make the scallops dairy-free and Whole30 compliant you can use ghee or coconut milk instead of the butter.
- This is my favorite stainless steel juicer. It's perfect for oranges and lemons!
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Recipe originally published May 2015, but updated to include new photos and video.