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Tastiest Sauces To Use With Scallops

Scallops are the culinary gem of the sea. The delicious flavor and nutrient richness they have are a true gourmet experience for the taste buds. The right sauce will take the flavor experience to new levels, but which should you choose? Maybe a creamy sriracha mayo or a honey balsamic dressing? There are tons of sauces for scallops you can use, but I’ve handpicked the best.

You can pair scallops with garlic sauce, lemon herb sauce, butter sauce, and citrus ginger sauce. But this isn’t all you can sauce scallops with, so let’s jump into them all!

Delicious pan-fried scallops garnished with asparagus and sauce.

🤷 Types of Scallops

Sea Scallops – Sea scallops are the larger variety, typically measuring up to two inches in diameter. They’re a favorite among chefs for searing as their exterior caramelizes keeping the inside perfectly succulent. These types of scallops are high in protein and provide a good source of iron and calcium with an equally robust taste and meaty texture.

Bay Scallops – Bay scallops are smaller, usually about half an inch across, and are known for their sweeter, more delicate flavor. They cook rather quickly, making them perfect for lighter fare or quick sautés. These scallops are also protein-rich and contain a good amount of potassium.

📌 Ways to Prepare Scallops

Thawing Frozen Scallops – They should be placed in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours. If time is short, you can seal them in a plastic bag and submerge them in cold water until they are at room temperature.

Patting Scallops Dry – After thawing, pat dry scallops gently with paper towels. Removing excess moisture helps to achieve a golden-brown sear, cook evenly, and won’t stick to the pan as much.

Brining Scallops – A short brine in a salt solution will help with the scallops’ flavor and texture. Combine 1/4 cup of salt with a quart of cold water, immerse the scallops for about 10 minutes, then rinse and pat dry again before cooking.

A wooden board of pattered dry scallops.

💡 Classic and Creative Scallops Sauces

Garlic Sauce

A simple yet explosive flavor burst for scallops is a classic garlic sauce. This sauce can transform any seared scallop into a deliciously rich garlicky delight with just the right smoothness and richness from the butter. The finely minced garlic and gently sautéed butter or olive oil will infuse the fat with its flavor. You can make the sauce even better and creamier with the addition of low-fat creamers.

Lemon Herb Sauce

The zesty freshness of a classic lemon herb sauce is a perfect pair in heaven for scallops. Fresh lemon juice, along with choice herbs like parsley or dill, you can’t get any fresher, tastier, and tangier than that. It’s a perfect low-calorie sauce with a balance of acidity and herbs that pushes the scallops’ natural flavor miles above the base taste.

Butter Sauce

A traditional butter sauce is the simplest and tastiest way to go when making a scallop sauce. Its richness is unbeatable when fused with the naturally sweet flavor of scallops. It’s typically made with unsalted butter, but a splash of white wine will give it that bonus smooth and velvety texture. You can also squeeze in some lemon and diced garlic to create a delicious garlic lemon butter sauce like mine.

Creamy butter sauce topped with pan-fried scallops.

Citrus Ginger Sauce

You can pack your scallops with a delicious zing from a citrus ginger sauce. This sauce brings a fantastic tang to the scallops, using a splash of fresh orange juice and ginger for a warm, spicy undertone. The low simmering of these ingredients lets the flavors pour out and meld perfectly together. A drop of honey will give that added nice, subtle sweetness.

Creamy White Wine Sauce

If you want that delicate touch of elegance, a creamy white wine sauce is just what you need. It’s a rich, velvety, smooth option with a base of dry white wine. The wine provides that rich acidity, balanced by the smooth addition of heavy cream. A creamy and thick consistency is also perfect for scooping up the scallops with on the scallops. Reducing the sauce is one of the best methods for thickening sauce and making it creamier at the same time. A sprinkle of fresh herbs is the real pièce de résistance.

Mushroom Cream Sauce

For a classic but luxurious twist, try a Mushroom Cream Sauce. Sautéed mushrooms in butter, with a touch of garlic and thyme, never-ending creaminess and richness. The rich and earthy flavor is just a must for scallops. Not to mention how the oozing creaminess of the sauce sticks perfectly to the scallops. It’s a real creamy experience that’s simple yet tasty to make.

Delicious pan-fried scallops with creamy mushroom sauce.

Citrus Beurre Blanc

A Citrus Beurre Blanc sauce is tasty acidity, tanginess, and buttery goodness all in one. This fantastic blend of white wine, citrus juice, and butter deliciously fuses with the scallops in every bite. Its velvety texture and delicate balance of acidity bring a real elegance to any scallop dish.

Almond & Paprika Sauce

This creative little sauce uses the nutty greatness of almonds and the delicious smoky and spicy flavors of paprika. An almond and paprika combo is just what the fiery tongue craves when eating scallops. Even the natural sweetness of the scallops is complemented by this delicious sauce. You’ll get creaminess and a dash of spice all in one tasty sauce for scallops.

Tomato Basil Sauce

You can take your scallops one step further with a vibrant, fresh, and tangy tomato basil sauce. Fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and a splash of balsamic vinegar create a flavorful and tangy sauce that beautifully complements the sweetness of the scallops. Each spoonful really does give that delicious freshness and tanginess you’d expect from the sauce.

A plate of scallops with mushroom and a serving spoon of tomato basil sauce.

Coconut Curry Sauce

If you want a more exotic flair, coconut curry sauce is a perfect choice. It gives of delicious Asian sauces vibes with its blend of coconut milk, curry spices, ginger, and garlic. The luscious creaminess and spice of this sauce soaks well into every scallop it touches. Making this sauce is also a great way to use leftover curry paste and leftover curry. Just make sure to fix the separated coconut milk by shaking it or mixing it slowly if it pulls apart.

🧐 FAQs

What’s a good sauce to put on scallops?

A simple yet delicious sauce for scallops would be a lemon garlic butter sauce. This adds bright citrus notes and savory richness to complement the delicate flavor of the scallops.

Should you soak scallops in water before cooking?

Soaking scallops is typically unnecessary for cooking, but if you want to remove any excess moisture or reduce their fishy odor, you can soak them in a solution of cold water and a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar for about 10-15 minutes.

What are some healthy sauce options that go well with scallops?

Healthy sauces, such as pureed cauliflower with garlic or Greek yogurt-based sauces spiced with mustard and dill, match well with scallops to offer a lighter touch that’s as delicious as it is nutritious.

Which sauces are considered the best accompaniments for scallops?

Many chefs recommend butter-based sauces as supreme pairings with scallops, featuring garlic or shallots for rich, aromatic impressiveness. Wine reduction sauces also stand out too for adding depth and sophistication

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