A special dinner for two: lemon butter scallops with greens and walnuts. Sea scallops are seared until golden brown, served with quickly wilted swiss chard, and topped with the simplest (yet most delicious) lemon butter sauce that’s flavored with a splash of chardonnay, a sweet touch of honey, briny capers, and crunchy walnuts. This dish comes together in no time and is absolutely perfect for a simple Valentine’s Day dinner!
Seared scallops are such a great thing to make for a celebration. They’re super quick so you don’t have to spend all night cooking, yet they feel really special. I created this recipe back in December for a collaboration with Imagery Winery, and with Valentine’s Day approaching this week…I thought it was the perfect time to share it on the blog!
If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know I LOVE seared scallops. I find that most people think they’re a little intimidating, but they could not be easier to make and truly only take about 3-4 minutes.
New to cooking scallops? Head to this post where I’ve rounded up my best cooking tips.
lemon butter scallops – the details
When it comes to cooking scallops, I pretty much always follow the same process…just simply seasoning them with salt and searing them quickly in hot oil. The sauces and toppings are really where you can get creative. From eggplant caponata to corn & chimichurri, there are endless options on how to dress them up.
For this recipe, we’re making a lemon butter sauce to give the rich scallops a pop of bright, tangy flavor. Butter, caramelized lemons, lemon zest + juice, chardonnay, honey, walnuts, and capers all get combined in a saucepan and simmered for just a few minutes. It’s the quickest sauce but packs in so much zesty flavor.
The finishing touch? Some wilted greens to round out the dish. All you need to complete the Valentine’s Day meal is a pasta dish (like this creamy red pepper pasta) and maybe some chocolate mousse for dessert. And of course, the chardonnay you use in the sauce would be great for sipping alongside. Enjoy!Print
Lemon Butter Scallops with Greens & Walnuts
seared scallops with wilted greens and a quick lemon butter caper sauce
- ¾ lb sea scallops, side muscle removed
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp chardonnay
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp capers
- kosher salt
- cooking oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stemmed + roughly chopped
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so.
- Heat a 2 qt saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the lemon slices in an even layer. Allow the lemons to caramelize on both sides until golden and tender. Reduce the heat to low and add the chardonnay, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced. Stir in the walnuts and capers. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Meanwhile, season the scallops with a pinch of salt as well. Heat a 12” stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, place the scallops in the pan (you should hear a sizzle).
- Sear the scallops for 1-2 minutes until a golden crust forms. Flip them over and finish cooking for 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer the scallops to a plate.
- Add the olive oil to the pan. Add the swiss chard and a pinch of salt. Quickly saute until the greens are wilted. Arrange them onto the plate. Spoon the lemon butter sauce over top. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper.
Any hearty greens will work here – you could use spinach, kale, etc.