Filed Under: Pasta | Seafood | Weeknight

Seared Scallops with Herb Butter Sauce and Orzo

Recipe By Tessa Arias
September 12th, 2012

Scallops are one of my favorite food items of all time. I just love their slight sweetness and incredibly smooth and firm yet delicate texture.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Fresh and rich and sweet and savory with an incredible depth of flavor.
Texture: Out of this world. There is really nothing that compares to a perfectly seared scallop.
Ease: Much easier than you might think. Just follow the recipe directions and you’ll have a dinner that’s probably better than what you get at most restaurants.
Appearance: Just gorgeous.
Pros: Totally do-able and completely incredible. Better than some scallops I’ve had at restaurants.
Cons: Scallops can be expensive.
Would I make this again? Yes. This may be my go-to special occasion dinner. It’s great with asparagus or green beans.

Scallops are one of my favorite food items of all time. I just love their slight sweetness and incredibly smooth and firm yet delicate texture. I always order them at restaurants but had never made them at home. Why? I was scared. Good quality sea scallops are hard to find here in Arizona and when I can find them they are super expensive. I hate to waste money so the thought of buying sea scallops and screwing them up in my kitchen always prevented me from making them at home.

But then I got to thinking, making scallops at home is actually a great way to save money because it is still a fraction of the cost of going out to a restaurant. I know the techniques behind sauteing and searing and making pan sauces. So I went for it.

The results were outstanding! The recipe is a definite keeper and I can’t wait to make seared scallops again. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

How to make
Seared Scallops with Herb Butter Sauce and Orzo

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Scallops are one of my favorite food items of all time. I just love their slight sweetness and incredibly smooth and firm yet delicate texture.


For the orzo:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt

For the scallops:

  • 1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops, patted completely dry
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter plus 3 tablespoons chilled and cubed butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


For the orzo:

  1. Prepare the orzo according to the package directions. Drain the orzo and return to the pan. Stir in the parsley, chives, olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Keep warm.

For the scallops:

  1. Sprinkle the scallops evenly with salt and pepper. Add 1 teaspoon of the butter and the olive oil to a 12 to 14-inch sauté pan on high heat. Once the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Remove the scallops from the pan and keep warm.
  2. Add the shallots to the pan and sauté for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Pour the wine into the pan and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the vinegar and cook for 3 minutes, or until the liquid reduces to about 1 tablespoon. Reduce heat to low and add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, 1 cube at a time, whisking after each addition until the butter is fully incorporated. Stir in the parsley, chives, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve scallops with sauce and orzo.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Cooking Light June 2012
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — September 12, 2012 at 4:52 am

    For some reason I read orzo as chorizo and thought, “Wow, this girl is ambitious!” lol. This is much better the way you actually have it! It looks super amazing! Definitely going on the to-cook-list 😀

  2. #
    Bethany — September 12, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Cool site, I love the design and this post!

  3. #
    Mich — September 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

    That sounds absolutely divine! I can’t wait to try making this.

  4. #
    Heather — September 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Hi there, I just found your site from clicking ON a foodgawker pic 🙂 (ironic; then I saw it in your blog). Just wanted to say I live in Nova Scotia and can get fresh scallops so will definately be trying this! Let me know if you want me to send you some 🙂 Awesome site, can’t wait to read more of your recipes!

  5. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — September 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    LOVE scallops and how easy they are to make!! this entire combination sounds divine!

  6. #
    Tracey — September 17, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Haha we’re on the same wavelength with scallops. I always cringe at the price but it’s definitely still cheaper than going out! Your dish looks restaurant-worthy, and I’m 100% positive it tastes as good, if not better, too 🙂

  7. #
    Sonya — October 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I’ve tried several of your recipes and they’ve all been fabulous. So I’m going to make this for my anniversary dinner tonight and I have every confidence that its going to be great. Thanks!

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