Garlic Butter Seared Scallops

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Garlic Butter Seared Scallops - Cuso Cuts

Garlic butter-seared scallops are one of those lovely dishes that don’t require a lot of plating perfection. The lightly browned surface swimming in butter is enough to get tummies rumbling. You also don’t have to go crazy with spices. I’ve used rosemary, but too many spices in this dish equate to gilding the lily. In my recipe, you'll use fresh garlic and parsley as the backdrop. 

How to Shop for Scallops

Whenever possible, try to find farmed or wild-caught scallops for sustainability. When you look at scallops, you want a crisp white color (no discoloration). If there are ice crystals, it means the scallops have been exposed to oxygen, which deteriorates their quality.

Peachy Pink Scallops

If you find these, there’s nothing to worry about. These are female scallops and taste the same as the white-colored ones.

You will find scallops packed both wet and dry. Wet packaging means the scallops are in treated water to improve their shelf life. Dry-packed scallops don’t have additives. Overall, the culinary world prefers dry packaging, which is what I recommend for garlic-buttered seared scallops.

Bay Scallops vs. Sea Scallops:

It’s pretty easy to discern which is which. Sea scallops measure three times the size of bay scallops. When you order seared scallops, you will get sea scallops. The bay scallops work best in things like chowder. They’re sweet and tender.


  • 1 ¼ lb sea scallops dry packed
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp freshly minced garlic
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tsp parsley chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon, sliced


  1. Dry the scallops on both sides using paper towels.
  2. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper (both sides)
  3. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a skillet turned to high.
  4. When it’s just smoking, add the scallops in a single layer. Do not crowd them.
  5. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Lift the edge of one just a bit to check. You’re looking for that golden brown
  6. Remove the scallops from the pan and set aside. 
  7. Melt the butter in the pan.
  8. Add the minced garlic. Sautee it for 30 seconds. 
  9. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Turn the pan down.
  10. Return the scallops to the herb and butter blend.
  11. Spoon copious amounts of sauce over top 
  12. Serve on a plate garnished with lemon wedges.
  13. Serve immediately

PitMaster’s Memo: Cuso’s All-Natural Seasoning Blends for Fish

We have a few seasoning blends in our line of carefully created spices. These four work with scallops for slightly different flavor profiles. 

Coconut Rum: Give your scallops a taste of the topics.

Dust: Your scallops will have a slightly smoky edge when finished.

Lemon Pepper: A simple, classic flavor that pairs with scallops spectacularly.

Roasted Garlic and Onion: Sophisticated and aromatic, adds brightness to your dish.


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Grilled asparagus

Maple-bacon grits

Pomegranate spinach salad

Wild rice pilaf


Bananas Foster

Fruit kabob

Key lime sorbet

Lemon meringue pie

Orange upside-down cake

From the Bar

Lemon Drop

Mineral water

Semi-dry cider (hard or nonalcoholic)

Single IPA

Sparkling wine

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