Easy, quick-seared buttery scallops, nestled in a flavor-packed mixture of tomatoes and bell peppers! You'll love the bold Mediterranean flavors in this scallops recipe--fresh garlic, shallots, capers, oregano and more. Best part? The whole thing comes together in like 20 minutes! Be sure to to grab my tips for how to cook scallops perfectly every time.

Scallops with tomatoes and bell peppers, sauteed in a cast iron skillet

If you've ever thought a meal like buttery, perfectly-cooked scallops is something you can only eat at a fine dining restaurant, this scallops recipe is about to change your mind!

Scallops are so much easier to make at home than most people think! And this recipe literally takes a skillet (okay, two skillets) and a few simple ingredients.

If you have 20 minutes, you can totally get this "fancy" scallops dinner on the table!

Scallops with vegetables in a cast iron skillet

Mediterranean-Style Scallops Recipe

Scallops are such a prized shell fish--super delicate and sweet tasting. They're the kind of meal that I serve on a special date night or when I want to impress some guests. But, honestly, they're quick and easy that they can be prepared any night of the week.

And because they're mild and sweet tasting, scallops lend themselves so easily to lots of creative flavors.

This scallops recipe takes on a bright Mediterranean twist. First, scallops are quickly seared in olive oil (we talk about this a bit more later), then nestled into a cooked mixture of grape tomatoes and bell peppers, flavored with garlic, shallots, capers and a trio of spices (oregano, cumin, and paprika.)

I'm telling you, this easy seared scallops recipe is brimming with flavor...so worth a try!

Ingredients for scallops recipe

For those who may be intimated by the idea of cooking scallops--after-all, they're not a cheap item--let's address the question of how to cook scallops perfectly every time.

How to Cook Scallops?

There are many ways to cook scallops, from deep-fried to baked or grilled. More often than not, if I make scallops, I go for pan-seared. Quick and easy. Here's how it goes:

1. If you are working with frozen scallops, you'll need to have them thawed first (see instructions on this below.) Then, once defrosted, make sure they are completely dry before they hit your skillet. To do this, place them on a clean paper towel and thoroughly dry

2. To cook them in your pan or skillet, heat a bit of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the scallops and cook on one side for about 2 minutes, then turn over and cook on the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Scallops sauteed in cast iron skillet

Important Tips for Cooking Scallops:

1. Do not overcook scallops or they will turn chewy and tough. Once they turn golden brown on both sides, they are done. Also look for them to break apart just a little bit around the edges.

2. Cook scallops last. Scallops need to be served immediately. In this recipe, I prepared the tomatoes and bell peppers mixture in one skillet and kept them warm while I cooked the scallops in a separate skillet. Once my scallops were ready, I simply nestled them in the ready mixture of tomatoes and bell peppers.

And, if you're adding salads or sides or anything else as part of your meal, get those ready in advance as well.

Tomatoes and bell peppers sauteed in skillet

How to Thaw Scallops Properly?

You'll most likely find wild-caught scallops in the freezer section next to things like frozen shrimp.

To defrost, simply place the sealed bag of scallops in a bowl with cold water to defrost. It will take about 15 minutes or so, flitp the bag over halfway through.

But if you want to thaw the scallops for a longer time, just make sure to place the bowl in the fridge.

Scallops with vegetables in a cast iron skillet

How long will cooked scallops keep?

Personally, I think it's best to cook and eat these scallops immediately. But if you have a little leftover, you can store it in the fridge for one or two nights.

I'm against reheating scallops because they will turn rubbery. Instead, eat leftovers cold (like a seafood salad) or closer to room temperature, if you prefer.

What to Serve Along?

As a main course for dinner, this scallops recipe will serve 4. Like I mentioned at the top of this post, I love serving it on top of Greek lemon rice, but Lebanese Rice, or even plain orzo, will work

If you're looking for some items to add here are a few :Antipasto skewers, avocado salad or this 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad.

Don't discount these saucy scallops as an appetizer to kick-start a special party. Add some crusty bread, or grilled French baguette slices to carry these saucy scallops.

More Recipes to Try

Grilled Scallops with Mediterranean Tomato Salsa

Mediterranean Whole Roasted Snapper

Easy Mediterranean Shrimp Recipe

Seafood Paella

Quick Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Feta

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Scallops with tomatoes and bell peppers, sauteed in a cast iron skillet

Easy Mediterranean-Style Scallops Recipe


Description

Easy, quick-seared buttery scallops, nestled in a flavor-packed mixture of tomatoes and bell peppers! You'll love the bold Mediterranean flavors in this scallops recipe--fresh garlic, shallots, capers, oregano and more.


Ingredients

Scale
  • Extra virgin olive oil (find our olive oil bundle here)
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, cored, cut into thin strips
  • ½ green bell pepper, cored, cut into thin strips
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 oz grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 lb wild-caught sea scallops (thawed if had been frozen)
  • Splash of fresh lemon juice
  • Handful fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 to 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking.
  2. Add shallots, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers. Raise the heat to medium-high, and cook for about 3 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  3. Add minced garlic, tomatoes, and capers. Season with just a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Add oregano, cumin and paprika. Toss to combine. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep warm while you work on scallops.
  4. In a separate skillet, heat another 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook for 2 minutes on one side, turn over and cook another 1 to 2 minutes (do not overcook).
  5. Transfer scallops immediately to the other pan and nestle them in the tomatoes and peppers mixture. Squeeze just a little bit of lemon juice all over. Garnish with parsley.
  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately over a bed of lemon rice or plain orzo.

Notes

  • Cook's Tip #1: Because scallops cook quickly, be sure to have prepared other parts of your meal in advance. If serving with rice or pasta, for example, have those cooked first. Also prepare any salads or starters in advance.
  • Cook's Tip #2: For dinner, this scallops recipe will serve 4. But, you can serve it as a fancy appetizer to please a little crowd of 6 to 8. Add some crusty bread, or grilled French baguette slices to carry these saucy scallops.
  • What else to serve with this meal?  Antipasto skewers make a great starter here. And for a salad, try something like this simple avocado salad or this 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad.
  • How long will scallops keep? Personally, I think it's best to cook and eat these scallops immediately. But if you have a little leftover, you can store it in the fridge for one or two nights.  Best to eat leftovers cold or at room temperature.
  • Visit our shop to check out olive oil bundles and all-natural and organic spices and more!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 mins
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Scallops Recipe, Seared Scallops, Easy Scallops, How to Cook Scallops

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Hi Suzy, thanks so much for sharing your clear, detailed and enthusiastic recipes. In this recipe, should the scallops have any salt or pepper before hitting the skillet? Thanks!

  2. Thank you for such a thorough recipe. I haven't cooked scallops before, but I've been wanting to try them. I made this recipe, and it was perfect! Was a great way to use the last of my garden's tomatoes.

  3. These Scallops look so amazing! So colorful and I'm loving the idea of making them Mediterranean style!

  4. I know what I will be having for dinner tonight; this looks amazing! So excited to give this a try!

  5. I love how easy this is to throw together, and it still looks like a fancy recipe for guests!

  6. I never thought to pair these particular veggies with scallops, but they tasted great!

  7. Made the recipe last night, it was a success. I liked the vegetable portion so much that I'd double it in the future 🙂 I served it with the greek lemon rice (without the orzo, wife is gluten free), and all was very tasty.

    Thank you Suzy for your recipes, they're excellent. Planning to make the Gemista for dinner tonight...

    1. Tom, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! You're right, doubling the veggies would be a good idea as well!

  8. love your recipes, I like to change the usual fish day,and this was perfect, love the veggies,easy to make ,and I cooked lemon rice to go with it,everybody love it, thank you so much, keep them coming.

  9. This was a fantastic Friday night dinner! So flavorful, easy to prepare, and healthy!

  10. This delicious dish completly changed the way I think about cooking scallops at home! Thank you!