Grilled scallops are quick, delicious and can go well with just about anything, so I keep them in the rotation especially on nice sunny days. They're golden, as long as you don't overcook them.
These are grilled to perfection and topped with a lemony salsa verde made with beet greens and a mix of fresh herbs. These could easily be made for a quick gourmet weeknight or special occasion dinner for two.
Scallops are simple, versatile and easy to cook but you have to get the steps right otherwise you can end up with a beautiful looking chewy rubbery mess.
Preparation and technique matter, like a lot so be disciplined and pay attention to the small stuff like fully drying, chilling the scallops before cooking, etc.
Teedra Moses challenges her male partner to "Get It Right." She's got a lot to offer, and she won't make it hard for him, but he's got to get the little things right.
Ingredients For Grilled Scallops
- Scallops - the bigger the better for this recipe
- Lemon Juice and zest
- Beet Greens
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Cilantro
- Fresh Basil
- Garlic ClovesOlive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
Prepare the scallops
The big thing with grilling scallops is you want to start with dry scallops. Using a paper towel pat dry each scallop. Refrigerate the scallops uncovered until ready to grill. Remove from the refrigerator and allow them to reach room temperature.
Slide the scallops onto two skewers and season with salt and pepper
Make the salsa verde
In a food processor combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, greens, herbs, salt and pepper then puree. Set aside
Prepare the grill
Heat grill to high heat, as high as you can get your grill. Cover the grill so the grates get really really hot. Open the grill and use a steel brush to make sure the grates are clean. Note grills are easier to clean when they are hot. After cleaning close the lid again for a few minutes to get the grates back to super hot.
Dampen a wad of paper towel with canola. Using tongs grab the dampened paper towel and rub the grates down well. This is how you get those beautiful grill marks.
Grill the scallops
If possible turn heat down just slightly. Place the skewered scallops on one side of the grill at an angle to get diagonal grill marks.
Grill scallops for about 4 minutes, then flip them and cook for another 2 minutes more or so. The scallops should be barely opaque in the middle. You can always check by cutting one in half, but feel free to trust the process.
Grilled Scallops Health Tips
Scallops are also a lean source of protein and effective at regulating blood pressure.
Flavor Profile of Grilled Scallops
Scallops alone have a subtle, sweet flavor. Grilling adds some smokiness and the chilled salsa verde made with meyer lemon juice, beet greens, and herbs make the perfect condiment - the salsa enhances the flavor vs. overpowering that sweet smokey scallop flavor.
The sauce calls for only a few ingredients so can be made in 1-2 minutes. Meyer lemons tend to be more on the fragrant side and less tart relative to regular lemons. Make enough and save for other recipes, as the salsa is extremely versatile.
Use two skewers to grill your scallops. They make it easy to flip, cook evenly, and keep them from slipping through the gaps in the grill grate
Go big or go home. The bigger the scallop, the sweeter the taste. They're also less likely to develop that rubbery texture
Best way to prevent sticking is to dry the scallops well and wipe grate clean with oiled paper towel. This will also help get those good looking grill marks
Cook the scallops on one side for about 4 minutes to get great grill marks. Cook on the second side only until about 2 minutes
Meal Planning Tips
Serve over pearl couscous to make it a meal otherwise exclude and just enjoy as an appetizer.
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- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 ½ tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
- ½ cup beet greens
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 12 large scallops tendons removed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Use a paper towel to pat dry each scallop. Place them all on a baking rack sitting inside a baking sheet. Refrigerate the scallops until just before grilling.
- In a food processor combine the zest, juice, olive oil, garlic, greens, herbs, salt and pepper, then puree. Set aside.
- Heat grill to high heat. Cover the grill so the grates get very, very hot. Open the cover and use a steel brush to clean the grates. Cover again for 2 to 3 more minutes to bring the grates back to high heat level.
- Remove the scallops from the refrigerator, slide scallops on two skewers and season with salt and pepper
- Dampen a wad of paper towel with canola oil. Grab the wad with a pair of tongs, and rub the towels along the grates to oil them well.
- Turn heat down to medium high. Place the skewered scallops on one side of the grill at an angle so you will get diagonal grill marks.
- Cook skewers for 4 minutes, turn them, cook for 2 minutes more. Brush some of the glaze over the scallops. The scallops should be barely opaque in the middle. Cut one in half if you need to check.