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Seared Scallops with Cider Brown Butter Recipe


Fruit and seafood may seem like an odd combination but apples with scallops really works. Take care not to overcook scallops or they will become tough and rubbery.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound sea scallops, patted dry with paper towels (see note)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and julienned
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 16 small fresh sage leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice


In a large skillet, bring the cider to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 6 to 8 minutes, or until reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In another large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Season the scallops with the salt and pepper. Cook the scallops until lightly browned on the outside and opaque throughout, about 2 minutes on each side (do not overcook). Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Brown the butter over medium heat, being careful not to burn. Stir in the reduced cider, half of the julienned apple, the sage, and lemon juice. Simmer until the apple is tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To serve, put the scallops in a serving dish and spoon on the sauce. Garnish with the remaining julienned apple.

Yield: 4 servings

Notes from the Author: "Scallops found in stores are often treated with tripolyphosphate, a preservative that affects their sweet flavor. This treatment also causes the scallops to retain water and to weigh a little more on the store scales. For this reason, you may hear them referred to as "wet scallops," because they release a lot of excess water into the pan during cooking. The water is problematic when sautéing because it prevents the scallops from achieving a nice caramelized color and texture. I prefer to use nontreated, dry-packed scallops. They are more difficult to find but well worth the hunt." --Cory Schreiber

Recipe Source: Wildwood: Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest by Cory Schreiber (Ten Speed Press)
Reprinted with permission.

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