Seared Scallops with Brown Butter & Lemon Pan Sauce

Pairing: any Dry Creek Vineyard white wine



  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • Small handful of chives, thinly sliced
  • 12 large dry sea scallops
  • Kosher salt
  • Cayenne
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp, drained capers



Cut 2 lemons in half and squeeze juice into a measuring glass or small bowl, you should have ¼ cup of juice, remove any seeds and set aside. Thinly slice chives and place in a small bowl, set aside.

Pull side muscle off scallops, if needed; pat dry. Season lightly on both sides with salt, cayenne and pepper. Heat a large skillet, preferably stainless steel, over medium-high. Pour in oil to lightly coat surface (2-3 Tbsp); heat until it shimmers and you see first wisps of smoke. Swiftly place scallops into skillet, flat side down, don’t crowd work in two batches if necessary. Cook without touching, tossing or fussing until underside is deep golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Use a thin spatula or tongs to gently turnover, if they resist, cook another 30 seconds and try again.

Cook on second side until flesh a top and bottom looks opaque but there is still a faintly translucent strip in the middle, 1-2 minutes, depending on size. Transfer scallops to a plate. Pour off any oil in skillet and set over medium heat. Add butter and cook, swirling until butter foams, then browns, about 2 minutes. Add reserved lemon juice and energetically stir and swirl pan to emulsify sauce. Mix in capers and reserved chives and spoon pan sauce around and over scallops.

Serves 4.