Seared Spanish Sea Scallops With Saffron

Seared scallops

Jason Poole / Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
153 Calories
8g Fat
10g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 457mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 11g
Calcium 26mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a wonderful sea scallop recipe from Galicia, in northern Spain. Combining scallops with cured meat is a widespread tradition everywhere―bacon is a common accompaniment―but here we use Spanish Serrano ham. If Serrano ham isn’t readily available, use any high-quality dry-cure ham, such as prosciutto. The scallops are seared hard on one side, then simmered with sweet onions, saffron, a little ham, dry sherry and finely chopped parsley. It's a great dish served simply with crusty bread and a green salad. Count on 5 scallops per person for the main course; this recipe serves 4 that way. You can also drop the scallops to 3 per person and serve this as an appetizer.


  • 20 sea scallops
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 4 tablespoons chopped Serrano ham (cut into pieces the same size as the onion)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pat the scallops dry and salt each side with the kosher salt. Set aside for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the olive oil to a large frying pan and heat over high heat until it's near the smoking point. Lower the heat to medium-high.

  4. Pat the scallops dry one more time and lay them down in the hot oil to sear. Do not move them for at least 2 minutes.

  5. Shake the pan a bit to see if they release themselves. Once they do, lift out and put on a plate, the seared side facing up.

  6. Once the scallops are all seared on one side, add the onions and ham and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often to pick up any stuck-on bits from the pan.

  7. Crumble the saffron over the pan, then add the parsley and sherry and stir well to combine.

  8. Return the scallops to the pan, seared side up. Make sure the scallops are resting on the pan, not on the onions.

  9. Let this boil down vigorously until the sherry is almost gone, then turn off the heat and remove the scallops to the plate as you did before.

  10. To assemble the dish, spoon out some of the onion-ham mixtures on a plate, drizzle a little lemon juice on it and then top with the scallops.