Sautéed Sea Scallops Provençal are the fancy dinner for special occasions that we can make in 20 minutes at home! These pan-seared scallops are finished in an incredible garlic butter wine sauce. It’s the easy seafood recipe that will rock your world and have everyone begging for your scallop secrets.
When Ina Garten drifted into my life with her French Scallops Provençal dish, I fell in love.
With her. With Jeffrey. And with French pan sauce.
I’ve taken just a few liberties with my version of this classic dish, adding chives to my fresh herb mix and increasing the garlic and wine, to ensure we have a little extra sauce and an excuse for serving a little extra baguette.
It’s a remarkably simple recipe to prepare. Be sure to dice your shallots, garlic and fresh herbs before starting your skillet because the process is fast and furious and super simple if all of your ingredients are ready to go.
Since most of us have easiest access to frozen scallops, before we fire up the skillet and start searing, let’s talk about the best way to thaw our quality scallops for cooking.
Tips for Thawing Sea Scallops:
- Plan ahead! For best results, scallops should be thawed slowly in the refrigerator to prevent them from getting an unpleasantly mushy texture. Place them in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you plan to cook them. This will allow them to thaw slowly and evenly.
- Too late to plan ahead? If you’re short on time, you can thaw the scallops in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to an hour, or until they are completely thawed. Do not use warm or hot water to thaw scallops, as this can partially cook the scallop, affecting their texture and flavor and potentially introducing food safety concerns.
Looking for more Superstar Scallop Recipes? Try these next!
- Broiled Scallops with Italian Salsa Verde
- Baked Scallops with White Wine, Citrus and Basil
- Brown Butter Seared Scallops with Charred Corn Polenta
- Seafood Pasta in Garlic White Wine Sauce
Ingredients you need to make Sautéed Sea Scallops:
Large or Jumbo Scallops: One pound is all you need for this recipe, but feel free to double it for a dinner party!
Butter and Neutral Oil: Plan to use both – butter for flavor and neutral oil with a high smoke point to keep our fat from burning while we get a nice golden brown crust on the scallops. Canola oil, avocado oil or sunflower oil will all work.
Salt and Pepper: Nothing fancy on the seasoning front! We want the sweet scallops to shine.
Flour: For dredging our scallops and achieving a gorgeous, proper sear.
Shallots: Substitute mild yellow onion for shallots, if needed.
Fresh Garlic: Skip the pre-minced garlic and spring for fresh cloves, grated or minced.
White Wine: Choose a dry wine that you would be willing to drink (avoid “cooking wines”.) Substitute chicken stock or water and bouillon, if desired.
Fresh Chives and Flat Leaf Parsley: The perfect fresh herb combination for our easy scallops recipe. Substitute other soft herbs like basil or tarragon.
Fresh Lemon: I like to serve this dish with a few curls of lemon zest over the herb butter sauce, and slice the lemon into wedges for a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice when serving.
Full measurements and directions for this delicious meal included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step by step instructions for making sautéed sea scallops in wine sauce:
Dry scallops well with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Ensure the small side muscle is removed from each scallop. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge seasoned scallops in flour. Set aside.
Ensure your garlic, shallot and herbs are diced and ready to go! Heat large skillet (cast iron skillet or stainless are best) over medium-high heat with neutral oil. Add fresh scallops to the hot pan in single layer. Sear first side without moving the scallops for 2 minutes, until they achieve a golden crust. Reduce to medium heat and turn scallops.
Add butter, diced shallots and garlic to pan. Saute all for 2 minutes, until scallops are just cooked through. Remove scallops and tent with foil.
To the pan of butter, garlic and shallots, add white wine, fresh parsley and chives. Bring to a rapid simmer for 2 minutes, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Taste and adjust seasoning. Return golden brown scallops to pan and coat in garlic butter sauce with fresh herbs.
Serve pan-seared scallops in sauce with lemon wedges, a sprinkle of lemon zest and a warm baguette.
FAQ’s and Serving Suggestions for Sautéed Sea Scallops:
Substituting shrimp for sea scallops in this recipe and making a Garlic Butter Shrimp Provençal would be a wonderful dish. Adjust cooking time based on the size of your shrimp. Serve with lemon wedges and baguette to soak up every last drop of sauce!
Scallops should be cooked until they are opaque and firm to the touch. If you have a temperature pen, the proper internal temperature is 120℉. The size of the scallops will dictate the total cooking time, but generally sea scallops need 3-4 minutes on the first side and 1-2 minutes on the second side.
To store leftover sauteed scallops, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. Once thawed and cooked, the scallops should not be re-frozen.
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