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Seared Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Lemon-Caper Butter

Mar 04, 2015 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Rhea’s Rundown

This quick, light dish is sure to please with a decadent sauce and practically no effort in the kitchen. Mounds of wilted spinach burst with flavor from lemon-caper butter and give the meal a hearty substance. The original recipe utilizes an indoor grill to cook the scallops, but in lieu of not having one I adjusted the instructions to cooking with a sauté pan instead. I don’t know about other grocery stores, but you can find salt packed capers in the dressing aisle of Whole Foods next to the pickles. I chose this recipe because I love lemon-caper anything and because the spinach will help with iron intake if you’re avoiding meat. Be sure to buy the biggest container of spinach available. (I used baby spinach, which helps cut out the necessity of having to remove the stems.) I’m sure it must be a familiar experience for most seeing how spinach magically shrinks to nothing when sautéed. Even with the 1-pound box I still used over half of it, and that was just for two people. Tip: Make sure to pat the scallops dry beforehand, and cook them on a very hot skillet to get that nice golden crust. Also, if there’s too much liquid in the pan the crust won’t develop.

Ingredients – Serves 4
  • Lemon-caper Butter:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 tablespoons capers, preferably salt packed, rinsed and finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 bunches spinach, thick stems removed
  • 4 lemon wedges


1. To make the lemon-caper butter, put the butter, capers, lemon zest, and parsley in a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

2. Brush scallops with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.

3. Put spinach in a large pot with just the washing water clinging to the leaves. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring with tongs once or twice, until the spinach is barely wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain in a sieve or colander. Do not press on the leaves or squeeze them to extract more liquid; you want to leave them fairly moist. Return them to the same pot and add half of the lemon-caper butter. Toss with tongs over low heat so that the butter melts and coats the spinach. Taste for salt. Keep the spinach warm while you sear the scallops.

4. Heat a little of the lemon-caper butter, just enough to coat the bottom of a sauté pan. Sear the scallops on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are no longer translucent.

5. Divide the spinach among warmed dinner plates. Arrange the scallops on top, and immediately slather the scallops with the remaining butter. The butter will melt from the heat of the shellfish. Garnish each serving with a lemon wedge and serve immediately.

Adapted from: “Seared Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Lemon-Caper Butter.” Sur La Table. Eating Local. 23 February 2015. Web.

Rhea Torreon
Instagram: whatsupfoodie