Make beautifully seared scallops in sake butter sauce for an incredible way to enjoy this delicious delicacy from the sea!
Mastering the perfect seared scallop and pairing it with a delicious sauce is always a bragging right as far as I am concerned.
So, if you’ve been dying to try out scallops at home and want to create a flavorful masterpiece that is fairly simple to make but looks like you cooked for hours then you’re in the right place.
This recipe is inspired by Asian flavors using sake wine and white miso paste topped with a fresh basil and lemongrass sauce to tie it all together.
Get all the information below on what you need to know to create the perfect sear, how to make the sauce, and serve your scallops. Let’s dive in!
- Heavy Bottom Pan (Cast Iron Pan or Ceramic Pan)
- Sauce Pan
- Knife & Cutting Board
- Paper towels
- Baking Sheet
- Wire Rack
Welcome to my virtual classroom! Use the guided notes below where I often answer commonly asked questions I get from readers and cooks just like you.
This information is meant to help you have a stronger understanding of this recipe and the process so you can find success all on your own.
Ready to begin cooking? Simply jump to the recipe below and begin.
Sake Butter Sauce Ingredients:
- Fresh Scallops (These are the best scallops I have ever had. Use code Bonappeteach for $25 off your first order)
- Sesame Oil or Avocado Oil
- Sake (dry works better here)
- White Miso Paste
- Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest
How To Prepare And Sear Scallops:
The key to a perfect seared scallop is truly in the preparation. They need a little TLC and if you prep and plan ahead you will have the best sear possible!
Here are the key steps to prepping and searing fresh raw scallops-
- Remove the scallops from the packaging.
- Pat them dry (as dry as possible) with paper towels.
- Fresh scallops can often have the abductor muscle still attached. These are small little piece that is found on the side of the scallop and can easily be pulled off. Remove this to avoid tough scallops.
- Place the scallops on a wire rack suspended over a smaller baking sheet and place it in the fridge. This allows airflow to move across the top and bottom of the scallop.
- This is key to having next-level pan seared scallops because the air will remove even more moisture than the paper towels. I like to do this overnight but even a few hours will help!
- Be sure to remove the scallops from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to searing to bring them closer to room temperature.
- Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet. Add the sesame oil (this is great because it has a higher smoke point).
- Salt the tops of the scallops and then place the top side down first into the pan to sear for about 2 minutes. Salt the side that is up and then flip them to sear the second side.
- Scallops are technically safe to eat according to the USDA at an internal temperature of 145 F., I prefer mine between 125-130 F. and pull them about 5-10 degrees before this to allow for carry-over cooking.
Making Miso Sake Butter Sauce:
The sake sauce is very similar to a traditional white wine sauce, but in this case, we’ve subbed sake.
Sake is Japanese fermented rice wine and has similar traits to a dry white wine so it works well here.
For the sauce, start with a little oil in the bottom of a saucepan over low heat. Add the shallots and a lot of garlic and cook on lower heat until fragrant.
Mix in a small amount of white miso paste to help add some richness. Then add two cups of dry sake to the pan and allow it to simmer over low heat.
Toss in the butter and whisk it in until combined. Add some lemon juice and zest for some acidity. Season with salt to taste (the miso is fairly salty so it shouldn’t need a lot)
You can add your cooked scallops to the pan and toss them with the sauce or pour the sauce over the scallops as I did for this dish.
What To Serve With Scallops?
I like to add the basil lemon grass sauce over the top to balance out the flavors. You can find the details to that in the recipe below as well.
The recipe featured is stunning for a higher end appetizer when entertaining a smaller group or could make a great main dish as well.
I think pairing this with some al dente angel hair pasta would be delicious for a main dish.
Want the perfect side dishes for scallops? Serve your scallops with wasabi mashed potatoes and spicy grilled green beans or even some crispy brussels sprouts.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I know if my scallops are bad?
Scallops should not have an intense fishy smell, be discolored with a duller appearance, or feel slimy to the touch.
How long do scallops last?
Fresh scallops last in the fridge for up to two days. I recommend using them as soon as you purchase them in order to have the best experience possible.
Can I use frozen scallops for this recipe?
Yes, just be sure to use thawed scallops when you cook this recipe. Run them under cool water or defrost them in the fridge a day ahead of time.
Follow the same steps and directions listed for fresh scallops after they are no longer frozen.
Seared Scallops in Sake Butter Sauce
- 12 Scallop Shells for serving
- 12 Scallops
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
Sake Butter Sauce
- 1 small Shallot minced
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tsp Oilve Oil
- 1 tsp White Miso Paste
- 1/2 Lemon juiced
- 2 cups Sake dry works best
- 4 tbsp Butter
Basil Lemon Grass Gremolata Sauce
- 1/2 tsp Fresh Ginger minced
- 2 tbsp Fresh Lemongrass
- 1 cup Fresh Basil
- 1 cup Fresh Cilantro
- 1/4 cup Mirin
- 1/2 cup Oilive Oil
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Lime Zest
- 1 Lime juiced
Basil Lemongrass Gremolata Sauce
- Add all the ingredients to a small blender and blend until combined. Taste test and adjust seasonings and set it aside. This can be made ahead of time.
Scallop Prep (best done a day ahead of time)
- Remove the scallops from the packaging and pat them dry with paper towels. Remove the abductor muscle (muscle on the side of the scallop) if it is present by pulling it off.
- Place the scallops onto a wire rack over a pan and place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight uncovered to allow the air to dry the outside of the scallop.
- Preheat a heavy bottom skillet (cast iron works well) to medium high heat. Salt the exposes side of the scallops and place the salted side down first into the pan. Salt the second side in the pan and then flip and sear about another 2 minutes.
- Scallops are technically safe to eat at a temperature of 145 F. but I cook mine to about 120 F. and remove from the pan. Let them rest tented in foil to make the sauce and allow for carry over cooking.
Sake Butter Sauce
- To the skillet, add a little oil if needed. Toss in the shallots and garlic and cook over low heat until fragrant. Do not burn.
- Mix in the miso paste and the lemon juice then add the sake and bring the mixture to a light simmer, about 5 minutes.
- Add the butter and whisk it in until its reduced slightly and is a nice light looking sauce. Taste test and determine if it needs any additional lemon juice or salt (the miso adds a lot of salt flavor).
Assembly & Serving
- Place the resting scallops into the sauce pan and toss in the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Plate each scallops as desired (individually or as a group for a main dish). Pour extra sauce over each scallop and the add a 1/2 tsp of the basil lemongrass sauce to the top of each scallop as desired. Serve and enjoy!