Lemon Fettuccine with Seared Scallops

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Lemon Fettuccine with Seared Scallops


Cooked right, scallops are delicious. Cooked wrong, not so much.

This Lemon Fettuccine with Seared Scallops recipe is a simple and delicious low-fat meal.  I think many people are afraid to cook scallops at home; or say they don’t like them because they have only had poorly cooked scallops.  A scallop is very sweet and tender when cooked correctly.

The secret to a well-seared scallop is to make sure they are totally dry.  If they aren’t they will “steam” rather than fry and brown.  Fresh scallops should smell of the sea.


A scallop is best when seared quickly and opaque in the center.


Get large sea scallops and rinse them well under cold running water to remove any residual sand.  Then, looking at them, you should be able to see the mussel where the scallop attached itself to its shell.  Remove that as it is hard and not pleasant to eat.


Be sure to dry your scallop well so it sears, not steam


Be sure to cook your scallops in a hot pan, and please, don’t overcook them.  Just to opaque…a little underdone is better than overdone.  Overdone scallops are rubbery, and probably a big reason many people say they don’t like them.

Ready to try cooking scallops?  This is a great recipe to start with.

Lemon Fettuccine with Seared Scallops


Lemon Fettuccine with Seared Scallops


  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (try to always use fresh pepper, it really does make a difference because the oils are fresh)
  • 1 pound large sea scallops
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine (whichever you are drinking, or do what I do and use a dry white vermouth since the flavor never changes as with wine, and it's generally cheaper)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (peel)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (zest the lemon first; then juice it)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces fettuccine – cooked according to package directions – 1/2 cup pasta water reserved
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley – flat-leaf preferred


Step 1

When you look at a scallop, it usually has a little muscle where it attached itself to the shell, you can feel it as it’s hard, remove that. Rinse under cold water to remove any grit or sand, and pat dry with paper towels. (You can cut them in half horizontally if you would like too.)

Step 2

In a large zip-top bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper, then add the scallops and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Discard the unused flour.

Step 3

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; add the scallops and sear on each side until lightly browned – do not, I repeat, do not overcook or you will have a rubber disk and not a tender piece of lovely seared scallop (I swear this is why so many people say they don’t like scallop is that is is notoriously overcooked); better too rare, than overcooked.

Step 4

Remove the scallops from the pan, wipe it clean and then melt the butter over medium heat; add the shallot; saute 1 minute; add the wine, lemon peel and lemon juice; saute for one minute.

Step 5

Add the pasta; toss and heat through, then remove from the heat and add the parsley.

Step 6

Toss to coat; adding some pasta water if it all seems a bit dry. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Step 7

Divide the pasta between 4 plates and top with the scallops, pouring any juices let on the plate over the top.

LindySez:   If making this with shrimp or chicken, you can bypass the flouring. Even with scallops, if you prefer not to flour, you don’t have too. Just make sure everything is patted dry so it gets a little color when you saute it and doesn’t just “simmer’ in its own juice. Shrimp should be pink and chicken needs to be cooked all the way through, best to use boneless skinless breast meat and look for white throughout.

Wine Recommendation: A Sauvignon Blanc with a bit of citrus or Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) works nicely with this dish because of the lemon component. A chardonnay would fight with the acid; but if you really wanted to serve one, add just a dash of cream to the sauce to soften it up.

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by BB on April 18, 2014

    LOOOOVEEE scallops. Love them.
    Fettucini is great but think about this on angel hair pasta? Yum!

    • posted by LindySez on April 19, 2014

      You also love angel hair pasta, I know 🙂

  2. posted by BB on April 18, 2014

    Forgot to rate it… Still love it!


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    8g (2g Sat, 3g Mono, 1g Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Nutritional values may not be 100% accurate

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