Scallop Piccata

After the cocktail, the tapenade and the salad, the next step in this at home Valentine’s day menu is the main course. Like any good celebration meal entree this dish is a show stopper. A pièce de résistance if you will.  It’s caper-y and buttery. It’s light yet indulgent. It’s quick to prepare with your sweetie and perhaps the best part of all it’s pasta. What does that mean you ask? Well it means that you can share it Lady and the Tramp style, kisses and all.

When the first visions of this Valentine’s menu began dancing around in my head, I asked a couple of friends what kind of pasta they would like to see. Both of them said creamy so I set out to make an ultra creamy pasta. The result? Far too creamy and heavy for this Valentine’s meal. I’ll share it later I promise. But in the mean time I needed an entree for my Valentine’s menu. Since I had so much success with my chicken piccata I thought of other ways I could do it. And that is when it hit me, light, tender, fresh, sweet scallops would pair perfectly with the buttery caper sauce.

Scallop Piccata Recipe

Serves 2 Prep Time: Cook Time:


  • 1/4 pound angel hair pasta
  • 1 pound sea scallops (about 10), pat dry
  • fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons nonpareil capers
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley



Bring a large pot of water to a boil.


While you're waiting for your pasta water to boil. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter melts, place scallops in pan. Cook, turning once until scallops are browned, about 3 - 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover to keep scallops warm. (Note: You may need to do this step in batches, you do not want to over crowd the scallops or they will steam and won't get the color you want.) Reserve pan juices.


If you haven't already, begin cooking pasta. Cook according to pasta directions. Drain.


While pasta is cooking add garlic to scallop pan, reduce heat to medium, cook 20 seconds or until fragrant. Pour in wine, capers and lemon juice. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until sauce reduces by 1/3 about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Swirl until butter melts. Stir in fresh parsley.


Divide pasta evenly among heated pasta bowls. Place 5 scallops on top of the pasta. Pour sauce over the top. Serve.



Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    June 27, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Have made this recipe on a number of occasions. Super straightforward and delicious. It is quite possibly the best scallop piccata I’ve ever had. It delivers each and every time and I’m ever grateful to you for sharing. 3 min a side on high for the scallops. And I always double the sauce.

    • Reply
      June 27, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      Wow. Such a compliment. Thank you Mike! I am so happy to hear that you enjoy it so much :)

  • Reply
    January 6, 2018 at 8:58 am

    It was delicious ! I will make this dish again!

    • Reply
      January 6, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      I am so happy to hear that Jody! :)

  • Reply
    February 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    I love scallops-it’s amazing how easy they are to prepare! They’re so light and tasty-I’m definitely going to try to make them with capers next-thanks for posting!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    This is one of my favorites, so flavorful! Your display is lovely. Lady and the Tramp style… so sweet

  • Reply
    Village Feast
    February 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks heavenly! So simple, all about the ingredients.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Looks really tasty and you make it possibly simple enough for me to pull off, thanks for sharing!