Scallops & Potatoes with Brown Butter Sauce


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One of the best things about summertime in Florida is Scallop Season! After twisting the arm of our good friend who has a boat, we ventured out in the Gulf to find as many scallops as possible. Wearing snorkels and swimsuits, the day is spent swimming and searching for dinner. The beautiful creatures are often buried in sea grass or hidden under sand, which makes the process into a scavenger hunt; the prize being the meal at the end of the day.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The edible part of the scallop is the muscle it uses to open and close its shell. The easiest way to collect the meat is to pry open the shell at its base with a butter knife. Once the top is off, removal of the guts is necessary. We’ve found that using a shop-vac to suck out the unsavory parts is quick; the meat is stuck onto the shell so you don’t have to worry about loosing the good stuff.

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(Note: if you do use a shop-vac, make sure you clean it out soon thereafter, and bleach your vacuum if you ever want to use it again. Rotting scallop guts are the Worst Smell Ever. To save you from asphyxiation, get rid of the guts and clean your equipment ASAP.)

Cut the scallops from their shell, wash them and place them in a single layer on a paper towel. Make sure they’re dry (this is key for getting a good sear), sprinkle them with salt and pepper and set them aside.


1 1/2 lb. potatoes
2 T butter
1/4 half and half (or milk)
2 lbs bay or sea scallops
2 T cooking oil
6 T chopped parsley
1 T drained capers
1 t lemon juice


After you’ve cleaned your scallops, start your potatoes. For every 1 1/2 pounds of scallops, use two pounds of potatoes. Cut the potatoes into chunks, throw them into boiling water, and boil for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain the potatoes, reserving about 1/2 cup of the potato water. Mash the potatoes either in a mixer or by hand. Add the 1/2 cup of potato water, 1/8 cup half and half or milk, 2 T butter, 1 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper. Mix in half the chopped parsley, cover and set aside.

Now the scallops. Get a large skillet to medium high heat. Add half the cooking oil and wait until it is hot. Add half the scallops to the pan. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute. Remove. Repeat with the other half of the scallops. (Note: if you dump all your scallops in the pan at the same time, your pan will loose its heat and won’t give your meat a good sear.)

Reduce the heat to moderate. Add 2 T butter to the pan. Once golden, add back the scallops and juices, remaining parsley, capers, lemon juice, and pinch of salt. Mix for only a minute, and the dish is done.

Our feast fed eight. Serve with chilled white wine, and mangoes on ice cream for dessert.


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