Pan Seared Scallops with Basil

Pan Seared Scallops with Basil is a must try dinner for all seafood lovers. Moist, tender, sweet sea scallops are stuffed with fresh basil then pan seared to develop the most heavenly caramelized crust. These delicacies of the sea are served over pasta, drizzled with lemon wine sauce then garnished with plenty of bacon. Yep, bacon! Nothing is better than a 20-minute meal that looks gourmet and is out of this world delicious.

Overhead of serving of pan seared scallops with basil over spaghetti in white bowl.

Pasta with Scallops and Bacon

I love seafood hence this delectable pasta with scallops and bacon. And if I could pick just one seafood to eat, I would definitely choose sea scallops! The sea scallop is like the filet mignon of the ocean – tender, moist, slightly sweet and delicious alone or served over pasta or rice. And that caramelized crust on a perfectly seared scallop is just something to drool over!

Closeup of pasta with scallops and bacon in white bowl.

These pan seared scallops with basil are the perfect gourmet comfort food. And the best part, they only take about 20 minutes, including cooking the bacon, to prepare and serve. They’re super healthy too and a great way to get your two servings of fish in a week. Scallops offer a great low carb option as well when served over spaghetti squash or on top of a salad. I’m telling you, this should definitely be on your menu for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Of course, it’s delicious enough to serve for a special occasion too along with a salad and a glass on wine.

bite of cooked scallop showing basil inside

I hear from a lot of people that they don’t like to prepare scallops because they can’t sear them correctly. Really, scallops are one of the easiest seafood dishes to make! Just follow these few tips and you’ll be cooking them like a pro in no time.

Tips for Searing Sea Scallops

  • Make sure the scallops are dry. If using frozen ones, thaw them in the refrigerator (not in a water bath) then remove them and pat dry with a paper towel. If using fresh, make sure you purchase dry scallops & then pat dry.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Wait for the pan to begin to smoke before adding scallops.
  • Make sure scallops have plenty of room to cook. You do not want any touching each other as that will cause them to steam instead of sear. OVERCROWDING the pan is the biggest mistake most people make.
  • Cook just 1-1/2 minutes per side or until they get a nice caramelized crust on the outside.

How to Make Pan Seared Scallops with Basil

Cutting and stuffing scallops with basil.

  1. Pat dry scallops, season with salt and pepper, then make a horizontal cut almost all the way through. Like a small pocket.
  2. Place basil leaf in pocket.

Stuffed scallops ready to saute

  1. Repeat with remaining scallops.

overhead of searing scallops in skillet.

  1. Heat oil to smoke point then place scallops in skillet, making sure they don’t touch. Cook about 1-1/2 minutes on each side.

Making the garlic wine sauce.

  1. Remove scallops and add lemon juice and wine to skillet, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Overhead of serving of basil scallops over spaghetti in white bowl.

To serve this pasta with scallops and bacon, place a small amount of your favorite pasta in a large bowl. Top with pan seared scallops then drizzle a good amount of lemon wine sauce over all. Garnish it with some fresh basil and voila, dinner is served. I like to add a tossed side salad and a glass of white wine to make it a gourmet dish everyone will remember. Believe me, they’ll be asking for this one again and again. Enjoy! 

Here’s More Quick & Easy Seafood Dinners

Summer Shrimp Primavera – This light shrimp dish is chock full of  fresh vegetables, juicy shrimp and flavored with basil & a little lemon juice.

Soy Glazed Salmon – Easy baked salmon with a touch of Asian flavors.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops – an easy dish for the bacon and seafood lover in all of us. 

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5 from 4 votes
Closeup of scallop with bacon on top of pasta
Pan Seared Scallops with Basil
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
6 mins
Total Time
21 mins
 

Moist, tender, sweet sea scallops are stuffed with fresh basil then pan seared to develop the most heavenly caramelized crust. Serve over pasta, drizzled with lemon wine sauce then garnished with plenty of bacon.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keywords: pan seared scallops, pan seared scallops with basil, pasta with scallops and bacon
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 675 kcal
Author: Linda Warren
Ingredients
  • 1/4-1/2 lb. pasta cooked (try quinoa pasta for a gluten free option)
  • 4 pieces bacon cooked & crumbled
  • 3/4 lb. sea scallops (about 9 scallops)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 9 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese grated
Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and keep warm.
  2. While pasts is cooking, cook bacon and drain on paper towel. Crumble when cooled and set aside.

  3. Rinse scallops and pat dry. Season each side with salt & pepper. then cut through center horizontally almost to other side to make a pocket for stuffing. Stuff a leaf of basil into each scallop.
  4. Slice scallop horizontally almost all the way through, making a pocket. ut through center horizontally almost to other side to make a pocket for stuffing. Stuff a leaf of basil into each scallop.

  5. Stuff a leaf of basil into each scallop.

  6. Heat oil in large skillet and saute garlic for 1 minute. Add scallops, making sure to keep them apart from one another. Brown 1 side. r, and brown on both sides, about 1-1/2 minutes each side. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

  7. Turn scallops over, add butter and sear other side for about 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

  8. Add lemon juice and wine to skillet, scraping to get brown bits from bottom of pan. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. then add cheese and stir.

  9. Add cheese and stir.

  10. In 2 large pasta bowls, place a small amount of pasta. Divide the scallops evenly between the bowls. Pour a good amount of lemon wine sauce over all then garnish with crumbled bacon.

Recipe Notes

Tips for Searing Sea Scallops

  • Make sure the scallops are dry. If using frozen ones, thaw them in the refrigerator (not in a water bath) then remove them and pat dry with a paper towel. If using fresh, make sure you purchase dry scallops & then pat dry.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Wait for the pan to begin to smoke before adding scallops.
  • Make sure scallops have plenty of room to cook. You do not want any touching each other as that will cause them to steam instead of sear. OVERCROWDING the pan is the biggest mistake most people make.
  • Cook just 1-1/2 minutes per side or until they get a nice caramelized crust on the outside.
Nutrition Facts
Pan Seared Scallops with Basil
Amount Per Serving
Calories 675 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 88mg29%
Sodium 1094mg46%
Potassium 607mg17%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 309IU6%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 81mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post has been updated with new photos and tips and tricks to ensure the best possible results. It was first published on June 24, 2014.

 

Pan Seared Scallops with Basil
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