Here’s how to make an easy sauce for scallops! This lemon herb butter is a quick pan sauce that makes seafood taste divine.
Looking for an easy and delicious sauce for scallops? Have we got one for you. Try this Lemon Herb Sauce! It’s full of tangy, garlicky flavor and makes scallops taste infinitely better. That’s saying something, because seared scallops taste pretty darn amazing on their own. We created this sauce recipe to go with our Pan Seared Scallops method. Honestly, we usually go right into making this sauce after we sear them up. That post has all the info on our master method…and this one breaks down just the sauce component. You are going to want to bathe in this…promise.
Ingredients for this sauce for scallops
This sauce for scallops has just 4 ingredients that pack in major flavor. If you could combine them in a name, we’d call it Garlic Herb Lemon Butter. But since that’s a little intense, we went with Lemon Herb Sauce. Here’s what you’ll find in this flavor-popping sauce:
- Salted butter: Salted brings the best savory flavor; you can also use unsalted and add a few pinches of salt
- Lemon juice: Fresh only! Don’t even think about using lemon juice from a bottle
- Garlic: Fresh only! Again, no jarred garlic or garlic powder
- Herbs: We used a mix of tarragon, thyme and parsley. Keep reading for more about herbs…
What herbs go with scallops?
There are lots of fresh herbs that pair well with this seafood, but some are more natural choices than others. For this sauce for scallops you can use whatever fresh herbs are easiest to find. Here are the top herbs that pair well with scallops:
- Thyme: The delicate flavor of thyme and French-vibe make it the top fit for scallops.
- Tarragon: It’s got a subtle licorice nuance and fresh flavor. It’s harder to find, but well worth it.
- Parsley (Italian or flat leaf): The fresh bite of parsley is another natural choice.
- Chives: The delicate onion garlic flavor works well here.
- Basil: The fresh peppery flavor of basil also pairs well with scallops.
How to sear scallops: some tips
- Use fresh or frozen sea scallops.
- Brine the scallops in a water and salt solution for 10 minutes. This freshens the flavor and seasons the insides of the scallops. (We also use this trick in our baked salmon.)
- Use a large metal or cast iron pan. Don’t use non-stick: it won’t brown as well!
- Pat the scallops dry before cooking. Any extra moisture will prevent browning.
- Cook 2 to 3 minutes without touching, then flip and repeat. Do not move the scallops in the pan! Keeping them in one place creates the crispy brown surface.
- Add the sauce for scallops! Remove the scallops from the pan, then make this sauce. Keep reading…
Make the sauce for scallops right after searing!
Once you’ve seared the scallops, you’ll remove them from the pan and set them aside while making the sauce. Here are a few tips to know about making the sauce:
- It takes just 1 to 2 minutes to cook! You’ll simply melt the butter and let the herbs infuse.
- Scrape the bottom with a spatula to release the browned bits. All those beautifully browned bits of scallop are incorporated right into the sauce. So don’t even think about removing them from the pan!
- Serve immediately. Then add the scallops and serve. The amount of flavor it infuses is unreal!
Sides to go with scallops
How to pair your beautifully saucy scallops to make it a complete meal? Here are a few of our favorite ideas for what to serve with scallops:
- Over pasta: Make up a pot of spaghetti, linguine, or even angel hair pasta. Season it with olive oil and salt, then add these saucy scallops on top. Or try Scallop Pasta with Lemon & Herbs.
- With salad: Some of our favorite salads for scallops feature delicate, tangy and even sweet flavors. Try Easy Arugula Salad, Fennel Orange Salad, or Blackberry Salad.
- With rice, couscous or quinoa: This lemon couscous or pesto quinoa would be great choices.
This sauce for scallops recipe is…
Gluten-free and pescatarian (with scallops, of course!).Print
Here’s how to make an easy sauce for scallops! This lemon herb butter is a quick pan sauce that makes seafood taste divine. This sauce makes enough for 1 pound of scallops.
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, thyme, parsley, etc)
- Sear the scallops, following the instructions for Pan Seared Scallops.
- Remove the scallops from the skillet to a plate and reduce the heat to medium. Add the additional butter, lemon juice, minced garlic and chopped herbs. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release flavor from any browned bits stuck to the pan. Cook 1 minute until fragrant.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the scallops and cover them with sauce. Then remove from the heat and serve immediately.
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: French inspired
Keywords: Sauce for scallops
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.