Garlicky Bay Scallops



  • Servings : 2
  • Prep Time : 0m
  • Cook Time : 2m
  • Ready In : 0m
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Make sure that you have all your ingredients prepared and at the ready. The fancy term for this is mis en place. It means “set in place”; all ingredients used in a recipe are chopped, minced, sliced and measured before you start cooking. If you don’t already cook this way, I encourage you to give a shot. It streamlines the cooking process and keeps your workstation clean…and who doesn’t like a clean kitchen? Nesting bowls like these are great, since they come with teeny-tiny bowls that work perfectly for minced garlic and spices. I use my set daily.

Get a skillet screaming hot. Scallops are typically cooked at a high temp, so don’t feel strange about heating the pan to a temp at which you would normally boil water. Add the butter or ghee and be ready to toss in those scallops too. This moves quickly, so it’s a good thing you knocked out your mis en place. Note that if you are using regular butter, the dairy in it will brown fast, so you will need to be snappy with the scallops.

When the butter is melted or the ghee is to temp, add the scallops and stir or swirl the pan around to coat them in fat. Let them go for a couple minutes before adding the garlic, red chili flakes, salt, pepper and diced bacon.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and keep everything moving. The last thing we want to do is scorch the garlic. Burnt garlic is bitter. Yuck.

After a few minutes the scallops should be perfectly cooked, the garlic crisp and golden and the bacon heated through. The best way to check the scallops for doneness is the touch test. Raw scallops are soft and kinda mush around. When a scallop is done, it will have some resistance to it and a little bounce. I read that it feels like a flexed muscle and found that to be true.

Remove these from the heat and transfer to a serving dish. Toss in the thinly sliced scallions and the parsley.

This is total appetizer material, but also makes a nice, light (if butter and bacon can ever be light) lunch protein, served with some veggies. Try it on top of zucchini “noodles” too for faux pasta dish! There are lots of different ways to use this recipe and I’d love to hear what you come up with!

If the pesto idea sounds a little better than this garlicky version, I recommend using my Spinach Pesto recipe and sneak in some green veggies… always a good thing! Cook the scallops in the same way with the butter or ghee, but instead of adding this recipe’s ingredients, spoon in your desired amount of pesto. It’ll just take a minute or so on the heat for the pesto to warm through. Again, delicious on its own and also over zucchini noodles for a Paleo-friendly pasta night!


  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBSP chopped parsley
  • 2 TBSP butter or ghee (sub coconut oil for non-dairy option)
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Slice of cooked bacon, diced


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Recipe Comments

Comments (2)

  1. posted by jpallatta on January 9, 2013

    super delicious! especially if you put it over the zucchini noodles!

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