Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter
and baked spinach risotto
We last featured scallops in a meal plans back in 2019. Many members of our community commented that this was their first time making scallops at home, but they loved how easy they are to cook. A sauce made with butter, lemon juice, and capers adds great flavor to the dish. Baked risotto will cook without any fuss while you focus on the main event.
Smarts: The keys to a golden brown crust on the scallops are getting them very dry before cooking them and not crowding the pan in which they cook.
- Shallots - 1 clove , diced
- Capers - 1 Tbsp , drained and rinsed
- Sea scallops, medium-sized - 1 lb (sub peeled and deveined shrimp)
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Butter - 3 Tbsp
- Thyme, dried - 1/2 tsp
- Lemon juice - 1 Tbsp
- Onions, medium - 1 , diced
- Baby spinach - 5 oz , roughly chopped
- Butter - 2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp
- Rice, Arborio - 1 cup
- Stock, any type - 3 1/2 cups
- Cheese, parmesan (opt) - for serving , grated
Onions / Shallots / Capers - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating first.) Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 day ahead)
Spinach - Roughly chop spinach. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
Scallops - Pat scallops with paper towels until very dry. Season on both sides with some salt and pepper.
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Heat oven to 425F / 218C.
Heat an oven-safe Dutch oven over medium heat. Add first portion of butter (for risotto) and then onions to melted butter. Saute onions until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir rice into onions until rice is lightly toasted and the pan is dry, ~1 minute. Add stock and spinach to pan. Bring to a boil. Stir everything once more to evenly distribute spinach. Cover risotto with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook risotto until all of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, ~20 minutes.
When risotto is finished, remove it from the oven and stir in second part of butter (for risotto). Taste and season with some salt and pepper. Set risotto aside, covered, while preparing scallops.
Heat a large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook, without moving them, until deep golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes.
When scallops are golden brown and release easily from the pan, flip them to the other side. Add butter (portion for scallops), shallots, thyme, and capers to the pan. As the scallops cook, tilt the pan and use a spoon to scoop and pour the flavorful butter over top of the scallops (this is a chef move that will flavor the scallops and help them to cook evenly). Continue cooking until scallops are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.
Remove scallops from heat and squeeze lemon juice over top.
Divide risotto between serving bowls or shallow plates. Grate parmesan cheese (if using) over top. Top risotto with scallops and lemon butter. Enjoy!