Seared Spice-Rubbed Sea Scallops

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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For the Salsa Verde:

1 cup finely chopped mustard greens

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/2 cup fresh tarragon, chopped

2 tablespoons capers, chopped

4 anchovies in oil, finely chopped 

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Grated zest of 2 lemons

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Scallops:

1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika

1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

Kosher salt

12 large sea scallops, patted dry (about 1 pound 2 ounces) 

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil 

1/4 cup grated Cotija cheese

Thinly sliced Fresno chiles, rocoto or ajì panca chile paste, and microgreens, for garnish


  1. Make the salsa verde: Combine the mustard greens, parsley, mint, tarragon, capers, anchovies, garlic and lemon zest in a large bowl. Stir in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  2. Make the scallops: Combine the paprika, brown sugar, cumin, ground fennel, coriander, mustard powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper, then sprinkle all over with the spice mixture. Rub the spices into the scallops.
  3. Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Add the scallops to the pan in a single layer and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown and the scallops are just cooked through, about 2 more minutes. 
  4. Serve 2 or 3 scallops per plate; top each scallop with a dollop of salsa verde, sprinkle with the Cotija cheese and top with a Fresno chile slice. Serve with chile paste and garnish with microgreens.
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