Recipe for pan-fried scallops

Recipe for pan-fried scallops

Less is more when it comes to showing off the subtle flavours and textures of this popular shellfish, says French cookbook author Rosa Jackson

Out of all the shellfish, scallops seem to be the most poetic with their rust-red shells that peep open to reveal a round of pearly flesh and its comma-shaped coral. Scallops sold in France come from Normandy, where they grow big and meaty with a well-developed coral, or from Brittany where a smaller variety has a more delicate flavour.

Though cooking scallops can seem a little intimidating, it’s extremely simple if you stick to the principle of less is more. About a minute on each side over a high heat, using oil instead of butter so as to not burn the fat should be plenty. Sprinkle over a few crystals of fleur de sel and enjoy this simple supper with a chilled glass of French wine.

Pan-fried scallops serves 2

You can use almost any seasonal herb for this dish, being careful not to overdo it with the stronger herbs such as sage or thyme.


• 8 to 12 scallops, depending on their size and your appetite

• 2tbsp olive oil

• A few slivered fresh herb leaves, such as chives, thyme, tarragon, chervil or sage

• 1 clove garlic, chopped

• Fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper


• On a plate, combine the scallops, oil, herbs and garlic and marinate for about 30 minutes.

• Remove them from the marinade and wipe off the pieces of herbs and garlic. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and cook the scallops for 30 seconds to one minute on each side, depending on their size. The scallops should remain translucent in the centre.

• Season with fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper, and serve immediately with your chosen accompaniment. That sounds

Season with fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper, and serve immediately with your chosen accompaniment.

Like this article? Read more recipes for classic French dishes…

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Confit de canard

Baba au rhum

Sole meunière

Endives au jambon

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