Peppercorn Crusted, Seared Scallops

Okay some may think it is simple, but have you ever eaten a rubbery scallop?

Not so simple to ‘just cook’ the scallop now is it?

I work with appliances for manufacturers and get to demonstrate the features and benefits. Many times I am trying to make it interesting for me because doing the same old thing gets boring. What I forget about is, I don’t cook to the same audience for every demonstration. Many times the simple things are the best to show.

Sauteing is a basic cooking technique that many do in their kitchen. Some are good at it, many don’t know that they suck at it. Too many times when you cook something you may think that you have to cook it all the way through.

Unless it is a stew, ribs or another braised or smoked item, don’t cook it all the way through.

There is always carry over cooking when you heat the internal moisture of food. The knack is learning when to stop heating your food.

Scallops are prevalent in the area ( I live in New England). This past year I have met a pair of excellent authors on the topic and please check out their book.  by Elaine & Karin Tammi.

When you buy them try to get them dry. This way you are not paying for water weight. You will want to rinse them because sand or a piece of the shell isn’t enjoyable to chew on 🙂

Cooking Scallops are easy. They are very versatile. You can broil, grill, fry, poach, steam, smoke and saute them.

Here is a recipe for Peppercorn Crusted, Seared Scallops. Searing them in a pan just like sauteing with very little oil.


1 lb. Sea Scallops (I used large), rinse and dry on paper towel

3 tablespoons cracked peppercorns

Cooking oil, I used Coconut also, grape seed or canola works well

1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Kosher Salt

Lemon wedges


Place a heavy gauge saute or non stick pan over a medium high heat.

Dip one side of the scallops into the peppercorns.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and turn to coat*.

Cook the scallops in batches. Place several scallops, pepper side down, onto oiled pan. Don’t crowd them or they will sweat the moisture and no provide a good caramelization.

Let it begin to sear Without shaking the pan. Season scallops with a pinch of kosher salt.

Carefully turn the pan to allow dripping to move to one side. On the high side of the pan add a couple of cubes of butter.

As the butter melts to the bottom of the angled pan, use a spoon and baste the scallops.

After about two minutes lay pan down onto burner and use a spatula to turn them over. Allow them to sear for about a minute and remove to a plate.

Wipe pan with a paper towel and cook remaining scallops the same way.

Serve with lemon wedges or favorite dipping sauce.


*I used an Induction Cook Top in these photos. As you lift the pan from the cook top it stops heating the pan so you have to baste and lay the pan to heat, then lift it and repeat. Some electric tops have pan sensors that determine when you lift a pan from the heating element. Keep this in mind as you try this recipe or additional searing on the cook top.

2 Replies to “Peppercorn Crusted, Seared Scallops”

  1. Chef Kurt, this may be your best blog yet! I like the step-by-step instructions and scallops are my favorite, esp. this time of year! Thanks for an awesome demonstration!

  2. Great advice. Fresh seafood, butter, lemon, salt and pepper. All seafood is so elegant in this simple form. As you say, the key is not to overlook. Kevin

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