Seared Scallops with Hollandaise Sauce

Seared Scallops with Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Papa (my dad) cooks only a few times a year. He cooks on Maman's birthday and on Valentine's Day. And I can already predict what he's going to make: my mom's favorite, coquille Saint-Jacques (scallops).

First he sears the scallops, then finishes the cooking in the oven. Papa doesn't cook very often but he cooks scallops to perfection. He's always been very macho, saying he doesn't help with the housework, but I know he's a true romantic. Every week he brings my mom her favorite flowers and he serenades her with Vietnamese songs (he just bought an electric guitar). They've been married for 36 years now. My husband Lulu and I have been married only for 6 years and I hope we're still as happy as my parents in 30 years. Lulu might not make me coquille Saint-Jacques, but I can always hope!


Yields: 2 servings

6 whole scallops, shell on
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or regular salt)
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
2 cups Hollandaise sauce (click on the link for the recipe)


Ask your fishmonger to prep the scallops (reserving the shells) in advance for you. Place the scallops on a large serving platter. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator while preparing the Hollandaise sauce.

Fill each shell with Hollandaise sauce.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove and discard the black parts around the coral. Pat the scallops dry using paper towels. Season with Kosher salt.

In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook until caramelized. Transfer into the shells, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.

Once the oil is hot, pan-sear the scallops. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Gently lift the scallops and as soon as they're browned, flip them. Cook for another 2 minutes. Do not over-cook, as they will finish baking in the oven. Transfer the scallops to the shells, sprinkle with white pepper and bake for 5 minutes.

To check the "doneness", gently press the scallops with your finger; they should feel springy in texture or you could also cut one scallop in two. The color of the meat should be white and opaque.  If it's still clear to translucent, put it back in the oven to cook a bit longer.

Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!


I bought large scallops from Normandie. In France, you can find the red coral (female) part still attached. It doesn't affect the taste or freshness of the scallop. I haven't been able to find this kind in the U.S.

I didn't have any but for more flavor, you could sear the scallops in clarified butter (ghee).

Seared Scallops Recipe with Picture
In an open-air market in Paris.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on February 11, 2011.


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