Kid-friendly Scallops (Plus some Spice for Mom and Dad)


Yum! Scallops! I love scallops when they’re fresh and cooked well. I think a lot of people just “think” they don’t like scallops because they’ve ordered them in a restaurant that has left them sitting around in the fridge for a few days so they lose the fresh taste of the ocean (and a good scallop should always taste of the open sea). Another problem with serving scallops is that they’re easy to overcook, which makes them rubbery, so people think they don’t like the texture. Fresh scallops cooked perfectly are a tasty treat and I hope that even if you’ve been burned by bad scallops in the past, you’ll give cooking them a try. If you’re at the stove, you have control over the quality and how long they’re cooked, so you can cook them to perfection.

Okay — back to MY meal. I saw some delicious-looking large white scallops yesterday and decided I had to have them. The great thing about cooking scallops is that they cook quickly, so making them means I can make dinner in a flash. The only problem with making scallops is that I love them with a little crushed red pepper, which my kids will definitely not eat. I therefore have to cook them in two batches. It adds about five minutes to the overall cooking time, but as my girls end up happy and I end up with some spice in my meal, we’re all satisfied.

The cooking method I use for my daughters’ scallops is inspired by Mark Bittman’s recipe for scallops with heavy cream (at New York Times Online), although I don’t use white wine and I don’t clean out the pan and I also don’t do a lot of other stuff. It’s a kids meal, so I make it tasty and fast and as easy as possible. I sometimes make my husband’s and my scallops using his recipe as well, but as he uses heavy cream, I tend to only do so about once a year. My recipe uses a little butter, but also some olive oil and lemon, so it’s not as caloric or fatty and has a nice accent of citrus to complement the parsley and crushed red pepper, which I like.

I paired the scallops with risotto made with shallots and peas (a recipe I’ll share tomorrow). I like to serve things like shrimp and scallops with pasta or rice as the seafood doesn’t usually fill my kids up, so we need a little starch.

Scallops for the Kids

4 large scallops

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small shallot

1/4 cup heavy cream

A couple of Tbsp milk (preferably whole)

A squeeze of lemon

1 Tbsp chopped parsley or basil

Salt to taste

Place olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet, such as a cast-iron pan. Heat pan on medium high. Salt the scallops and then cut them into medium-sized pieces. When butter is melted and pan seems hot (but before butter browns) place scallops in the pan and sear until the sides are golden brown.


Add parsley and shallots, lower pan to medium heat, and cover for about a minute. Remove scallops from pan, turn off the burner, and then add heavy cream and milk. Stir cream to pick up any crispy bits of scallops in the pan, which will give your sauce a deep rich color. Add scallops with parsley and shallots back to the pan and turn heat back on to medium-low. Cover for another minute. Taste to see if you need any more salt. Add a squeeze of lemon and serve with rice or pasta.


Scallops for the Parents

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

7-8 large scallops

1 handful chopped fresh parsley or basil

1 large shallot finely chopped

1 pinch of crushed red pepper

A squeeze of lemon

Rinse out your pan and pat it dry. Heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat until pan is hot and butter is melted, but not browned. Salt scallops and add them to the pan. Sear, cooking each side 1-2 minutes or until they are nicely browned.


Remove scallops from pan and add shallots, crushed red pepper and parsley. Stir and cook until shallots are wilted. Add scallops and their juices back into the pan and squeeze lemon on top. Stir sauce in pan. Cover for about another minute if scallops need to be cooked a little longer or serve if scallops seem cooked.

Hint: Scallops should be removed when they are barely cooked through. You don’t want ot overcook them.

Plate scallops and spoon sauce from the pan on top of each. Serve with lemon slices.


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Kim said,

    Yum! Just made these and everyone, including my picky 3 year old loved them. Thanks!

  2. 2

    Julia said,

    This was a really tasty recipe for scallops! I love the parent version! Unfortunately, I discovered that my kids don’t like scallops – I couldn’t understand why not?? I will try it again when they are a little older! They are 3 1/2 and 15 months old.

    • 3

      dslincoln said,

      Well at least you tried! I bet they’ll like scallops one day. My now 15-year old daughter decided at 10 that she no longer liked them and now she loves them again. My strategy is to just keep putting interesting foods on their plate and they’ll adjust đŸ™‚ Thanks for trying the recipe and telling me how it all went!

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