Skip to Content

"Don't Disturb This Groove" Quick Pan Seared Scallops with Coffee Vinaigrette

Sharing is caring!

Moist and tender sea scallops with a restaurant level beautiful crust. These are perfect for a nice, quick weeknight gourmet or even as a fancy appetizer.

This 10-minute pan seared scallops recipe with coffee vinaigrette recipe is simple and tasty as it should be.

pan-seared scallops recipe plated with herbs and coffee vinaigrette

The key to cooking great scallops is to leave them undisturbed. Rely on your technique and have a system in place for searing them. Follow the rest of this post to learn how to sear scallops perfectly and flawlessly.

Pan Seared Scallops Ingredients 

Scallops should never be complicated

  • Sea Scallops
  • Clarified Butter (Ghee)
  • Canola Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper

How To Sear Scallops (step by step)

Follow the steps below along with the expert cooking tips to get that browned crusty exterior and soft translucent center every time. The flavor and texture are both generated from the technique. The key to the searing process is avoiding the temptation to move the scallops in the pan. Don't disturb their groove and just let the non-stick pan do its job. Trust the process as my old coach would say.

Step 1: Prep the scallops

Remove the small side muscle from the scallops and wash with cold water

Step 2: Dry the scallops thoroughly

Place the scallops on a baking sheet and dry both sides with a dry towel or paper towel. Let reach room temperature

Step 3: Season the scallops

Season just before cooking with no more than salt and pepper

Step 4: Prepare the skillet

Heat pan on high heat until lightly smoking. Add the oil and clarified butter. Swirl the oil around in the pan to ensure the entire surface of the pan is covered

Step 5: Sear the scallops

Sear undisturbed on each side 1 ½ to 2 minutes on each side. Baste the scallops in the oil/butter combo while you cook. By basting I mean to tilt the hot pan to spoon the butter onto and constantly place on top of the scallops. Scallops should have a ¼ inch golden crust on each side

Serving Suggestions

I top these with a simple coffee vinaigrette (recipe at the end of the post). Note they taste great without a sauce, but the vinaigrette definitely dresses this dish up. Pair with simple vegetables like:

Quick Sauted Spinach

Charred Asparagus

Citrus Israeli Couscous

Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

Mustard Greens Salad

pan-seared scallops recipe plated with herbs and coffee vinaigrette

Expert Tips on How to Cook Scallops Perfectly

  • Dry your scallops thoroughly before cooking. Moisture is the enemy to that nice brown crust and also is what causes the scallops to stick.
  • Keep your hands to yourself! Resist the urge to check on the scallops by moving them around in the pan and picking them up
  • Don't crowd the pan with too many scallops. An overcrowded pan leads to reduced temperatures and more moisture which again you want to absolutely avoid. You're better off cooking smaller amounts in batches
  • Look for scallops that have a fleshy, translucent white or pale tan color. Avoid pale, milky white scallops that have likely been sitting in liquids
  • If cooking with butter, use clarified vs. regular as it has a higher smoke point and works better for browning. Regular butter will burn at the high heat and lead to black spots on the surface of the scallops
  • Season generously, but wait until you are ready to cook (adding salt will draw out moisture). 

Notes on the dressing

To top the scallops you can use any myriad of sauces such as a simple lime butter sauce. I chose to make a "black" aka coffee vinaigrette using some black Urfa chili flakes along with ground coffee. I had the good fortune of coming across these at my local spice shop Savory Spice Shop courtesy of a recommendation from the great staff there. Urfa chili flakes are not a common ingredient but their worth it to get (Savory Spice Shop takes online orders) for this and other recipes. If not available, another good substitute is ground coffee.

Cooking Scallops Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of scallops should I buy?

If choosing the right scallops were only as easy as cooking! Scallops come in different sizes and have different names - bay, sea, diver, and jumbo. You want the larger scallops labeled as sea, jumbo, king, great, diver, Alaskan, etc. The larger the surface area makes it easier to get the brown crust and tender center.

Can I Use Frozen Scallops?

Yes, using frozen scallops is acceptable. You'll just need to take some pre-caution when de-frosting. Defrosting properly is key to retaining their fresh texture and taste. I prefer to place the scallops on a baking sheet in a single layer, cover, and refrigerate. Then follow procedures to dry the scallops before cooking.

For similar recipes you might like, try these:

Grilled Scallops with Lemon Salsa Verde

Pan-Seared Scallops w/ Pear Cream Sauce

Smoked Sea Scallops

Coffee Rubbed Hanger Steak 

Coffee Rubbed Lamb Chops

Smoked Trout

Yes, using frozen scallops is acceptable. You'll just need to take some pre-caution when de-frosting. Defrosting properly is key to retaining their fresh texture and taste. I prefer to place the scallops on a baking sheet in a single layer, cover, and refrigerate. Then follow procedures to dry the scallops before cooking.

If you make this 10-minute scallops recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

pan-seared scallops on plate topped with herbs and coffee vinaigrette

10 Minute Pan Seared Scallops with Coffee Vinaigrette

Simple and quick 10 minute pan-seared scallops recipe elevated with unique coffee vinaigrette. The coffee adds a modern twist to tried and true recipe.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 166kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 8 large sea scallops
  • 1 teaspoons clarified butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Remove the small side muscle from the scallops and wash with cold water.
  • Place scallops on baking sheet and dry both sides thoroughly with a dry towel and let reach room temperature/
  • Season scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil and butter in nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking.
  • Sear the scallops for 1 ½ minutes on each side. The scallops should have a ¼-inch golden crust on each side.
  • Serve immediately with black chile vinaigrette (recipe below)

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 470mg | Potassium: 246mg | Sugar: 0g | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Subscribe To My YouTube ChannelSubscribe To My YouTube Channel for full length recipe videos. Click the bell icon to be notified when I post new videos.
My YouTube Channel
Tried this Recipe? Tag it Today!Mention @foodfidelity or tag #foodfidelity!
pan-seared scallops on plate topped with herbs and coffee vinaigrette

Coffee Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Calories:
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon coffee very finely ground
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Combine dry ingredients and vinegar in a non-reactive mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well incorporated. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Subscribe To My YouTube ChannelSubscribe To My YouTube Channel for full length recipe videos. Click the bell icon to be notified when I post new videos.
My YouTube Channel
Tried this Recipe? Tag it Today!Mention @foodfidelity or tag #foodfidelity!

Sharing is caring!

Recipe Rating




Robin

Friday 27th of November 2020

I made this as part of my family's Thanksgiving meal and everyone LOVED it! I've never tried a coffee vinaigrette, but it paired so beautifully with the scallops. Honestly, the hardest part was finding some good seafood! If anybody else on here is landlocked/in the Midwest, we ordered online (from these guys: https://lummiislandwild.com/our-seafood/alaskan-weathervane-scallops/) and had a wonderful experience.

Marwin Brown

Friday 27th of November 2020

Scallops for Thanksgiving, I love it! Glad you enjoyed the dish

Jazz

Sunday 26th of August 2018

These scallops look perfectly done! Pinned this for my next dinner.

Mila Clarke Buckley

Friday 24th of August 2018

I have really learned to love scallops! This is so delicious! I love the bold flavors you used!

moopbrown

Saturday 25th of August 2018

Thank U!

Immaculate

Friday 24th of August 2018

Aww I love the idea of letting kids choose from the adult menu,brilliant!

Shanika

Thursday 23rd of August 2018

Wow! These scallops look amazing! I love the beautiful sear and that vinaigrette---yum!

moopbrown

Friday 24th of August 2018

Thanks!