Sautéed Scallops With Crushed Peppercorns

Sautéed Scallops With Crushed Peppercorns

Sweet, meaty sea scallops are best in winter. Buy “dry-packed” fresh scallops — anything else has been doused in preservatives. This quick-cooking dish gets a boost from three types of peppercorns: green and black (both true pepper), and rose (not really pepper — they are the fruit of a different plant — but peppery nonetheless, and pretty, too). Crush the peppercorns in a mortar or grind very coarsely in a spice mill.


  • 1 ½ pounds large dry-packed sea scallops, about 24 pieces, tough muscle (foot) removed from each
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon green peppercorns (dried, not canned), crushed
  • 1 teaspoon rose (pink) peppercorns, crushed, plus a few whole for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon amontillado or other dry sherry
  • 6 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint or tiny mint leaves
  • Nutritional Information
      • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

        194 calories; 12 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 0 grams sugars; 14 grams protein; 52 milligrams cholesterol; 458 milligrams sodium

    Note: The information shown is’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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  1. Place scallops on baking sheet or large plate and season lightly on both sides with salt. Mix together crushed black, green and rose peppercorns and sprinkle liberally over scallops on both sides.
  2. Put oil in a skillet large enough to hold all scallops without crowding (or use two skillets or work in batches) over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add scallops in one layer.
  3. Let scallops brown on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. (Don’t rush or they will stick to pan and won’t brown properly.) Add butter and sherry, turn scallops and cook until cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove scallops to a serving platter and keep warm.
  4. Finish the sauce: Leaving skillet over medium-high heat, add crème fraîche. Simmer until slightly thickened, 2 minutes, then taste for salt.
  5. Spoon sauce over scallops and sprinkle with lime zest, lemon zest and mint. Garnish with a few whole rose peppercorns.

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