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Sea Scallops with Browned Butter, Capers and Lemon

4 Servings

25 minutes

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In this recipe, sea scallops get the piccata treatment. Their sweet, briny flavor is perfectly matched by nutty browned butter, salty capers and puckery lemon. When shopping, look for U15 dry sea scallops—the sizing indicates there are fewer than 15 scallops per pound. “Dry” indicates that the shellfish has not been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), a preservative that forces water retention and that has a bleaching effect. In fact, bright white color is a tell-tale sign of the presence of STPP, as untreated scallops have a pale coral or ivory hue. And at the seafood counter, dry scallops should not be sitting in a pool of milky liquid. Serve with crusty bread and a leafy salad dressed with a bright vinaigrette.




Don’t attempt to move the scallops immediately after placing them in the skillet. They may stick at first but will release after they’ve formed a nicely browned bottom crust.

25 minutes


  • 1 - 1¼

    pounds dry sea scallops (see headnote), side tendons removed and discarded, patted dry

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper


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Calvin M.
April 25, 2023
Best scallops
I don’t cook that much inside, mostly on the grill. This is so easy and extremely tasty. The sauce at the end does it! Made some asparagus and tagliatelle pasta.
Beth S.
June 4, 2022
Absolutely delish!
I made this scallop recipe and could not get enough! Great delicate flavor! My husband was still raving about it the next morning!
Mark V.

Loved this one. Not sure who came up with “let’s do chicken piccata with scallops” but they are right, and really know how to mix it up. It’s such a weird dish because of the scallions and subtle Asian influences, but it’s piccata, so do I serve it with rice? Bread? Pasta? They suggest bread, and I get it, but I needed a starch that would do the piccata justice, so I went orzo, the twilight zone between rice and pasta, Asia and Europe. Rod Serling would be proud. I thought it was extremely easy to make, and delicious based on the straightforward oil/butter/lemon/salt sauce with capers. One tip from me, I always cut sea scallops in half horizontally, and I followed the same cooking times here, and it worked well. So easy, and if you are the kind of person who likes both scallops and capers, you have no excuses not to try it.