What’s cooking today: Pan-fried scallops

What’s cooking today: Pan-fried scallops
Tony Jackman’s pan-fried scallops. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

A rarity in my kitchen, scallops are sublime, and benefit from a quick and simple treatment. In a sense, they’re a no-fuss item despite their culinary status.

A scallop is a marine bivalve mollusc that has up to 200 tiny blue eyes which contain minuscule mirrors, rather than lenses, to focus light. That this utter marvel of marine nature also makes delectable eating seems unfair, given the beauty of its hinged shell and the eyes that stud its perimeter. They are not nearly as commonplace in our food stores as we might hope they would be. 

(Serves up to 6 as a starter depending on their size, using three scallops per serving)


18 scallops, defrosted and patted dry

1 garlic clove, sliced

1 tsp finely grated lime zest

1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley

Dash of Banhoek chilli oil

Squeeze of lime juice

3 Tbsp cooking oil

A knob of butter

Salt and black pepper to taste (go lightly)


Before cooking, prepare the ingredients: chop the garlic and parsley very finely, and grate the zest. Have these and the chilli oil alongside the stove.

On a moderately high heat, fry the garlic in cooking oil briefly for the garlic flavour to infuse the oil, then remove the garlic and discard.

Reheat the oil if it has cooled a little. Sear the scallops on one side. Season with salt and pepper. Turn, and season the other side. Just before they’re ready, add the butter and, when it’s melted and cooked for a minute, add the zest, parsley, dash of chilli oil and a squeeze of lime.

Serve immediately with the pan juices poured over the scallops, and a sprig of parsley. DM/TGIFood

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.


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