I'm sure you have Friday marked on your calendar as National Fried Scallops Day. No? There's still time to run to the store and get some to celebrate.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fish Watch, scallops are consistently ranked in the Top 10 seafoods consumed in the United States. Not those little Bay scallops, but those big beautiful scallops of the sea — the North Atlantic, specifically.

Don's Meat on Hixson Pike carries them, as do grocery stores, including Publix, Whole Foods — and Walmart, too, though the scallops you'll find at the latter have water added. Dry sea scallops mean water has not been added, so you're not paying extra for water. They're chemical-free as well. What you get are big plump scallops that taste like they've just been plucked from the ocean, which they were — right before they were frozen and on their way to market.

At an average of $20 per pound — $15 at Walmart, but remember, they have water added — scallops are not something I serve every day. Or even every month, for that matter. And definitely not for a crowd. One pound is plenty for two people, though.

The trick to making the best scallops is high heat, high enough so that the scallops get seared to a nice crisp finish on the outside and stay tender on the inside. Let them sear in butter for a minute or a little more, then flip and continue cooking for another minute or two, resisting the temptation to turn them in between. Start with a hot pan, put the scallops in and don't touch until you're ready to turn. The result should be the perfect crust.

Scallops drizzled with lemon-butter sauce is a delicate, lovely dish that takes just minutes to prepare. Make the sauce in the same skillet you've sauteed the scallops so the sauce can pick up any of the little bits of scallops remaining. Sugar snap peas and parmesan noodles are wonderful dishes to serve alongside. Some crusty French bread is the only other thing you need to complete this beautiful meal in celebration of National Fried Scallops Day.


Scallops With Lemon-Butter Sauce

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 pound scallops

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Lemon-Butter Sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lemon

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

If there are small side muscles on the scallops, remove them. Rinse scallops with cold water and thoroughly pat dry, then season them with salt and pepper, to taste. Working in batches, add scallops to the skillet in a single layer, and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and crusty on the outside and translucent in the center, 1-2 minutes per side. Set aside, and keep warm.

To make the lemon-butter sauce, melt 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve scallops immediately with lemon-butter sauce, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Email Anne Braly at

some text
Anne Braly