Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce is a simple yet elegant dish that is perfect for special occasions or any day of the week. The caramelized scallops and sauce is made all in one pan.
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▢⅓ cup kosher salt plus more for seasoning
▢1 cup hot water
▢4 cups ice water
▢1 pound large scallops 1 ½ inches wide, about 14 to 16
▢3 tablespoon olive oil
▢1 tablespoon unsalted butter
▢1 tablespoon minced garlic
▢½ cup white wine optional
▢1 cup unsalted chicken broth
▢1 teaspoon lemon zest
▢2 tablespoon lemon juice
▢2 tablespoon capers rinsed
▢1 tablespoon dijon mustard
▢Black pepper for seasoning
▢1 tablespoon chopped dill
▢1 teaspoon chopped chives
▢6 lemon wedges
In a medium-sized bowl combine salt and hot water, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add ice water to cool the brine. Add scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes. Line a sheet pan with paper towels, set aside.
Drain the scallops, rinse under cold water, and then arrange in a single layer on the paper towel-lined sheet pan. Place another paper towel on top of the scallops and gently pat scallops. Remove as much surface moisture as possible for the best browning results when cooked.
Allow scallops to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
In a 12-inch saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until oil ripples and just begins to smoke.
Sprinkle scallops lightly with salt on both sides.
Place scallops into the hot pan without crowding. Gently press scallops with a spatula to make direct contact with the pan.
Sear scallops without moving them, continuing to cook until bottoms are a rich golden brown, 3 to 3 ½ minutes.
Add butter to the pan. Turn the scallops over and cook the second side. Use a spoon to baste the scallops with the butter, tilting the pan to collect the butter as needed.
When the scallops are opaque in color and firm to the touch, about 1 to 2 minutes, turn off heat and transfer to a plate, do not discard pan.
In the same pan used for cooking the scallops turn heat to medium. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant but not browned.
Increase heat to medium-high and add wine. Simmer wine, stirring as needed until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Turn heat to high and add the chicken stock, lemon zest, lemon juice and capers to the pan. Cook until sauce is reduced by half, about ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes.
Turn off heat and whisk in Dijon mustard.
Turn heat to medium and add scallops back to pan, cook until warm, 2 minutes.
Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Garnish scallops with chopped dill, chives and serve immediately with lemon wedges.