For today’s recipe, we will be making uber buttery, rich, creamy, savory, and super tender garlic scallops Gordon-Ramsay style. This recipe is shockingly easy but only works if you follow the steps exactly.
You can use these in any number of pasta dishes (both tomato-based and white sauce based), on top of some tasty rice, in a refreshing salad, or as-is with a variety of side dishes.
What Are Scallops?
Unfortunately, the word “scallops” have many different meanings.
First, most people think of scalloped potatoes when they hear “scallops.” Most likely because it’s a much more common dish amongst the general population.
But today, we will specifically be making seafood scallops. If you have no idea what these are, don’t feel alone. If it’s not an ingredient that can be naturally found in your region, it’s almost impossible to know of its existence.
Scallops are a species of bivalve mollusks harvested from the ocean. As with most fresh produce today, they can either be found in the wild or farmed.
What makes this ingredient so popular is its very rich flavor and uber-buttery flavor as well as its soft, tender, and juicy texture.
These are never heavily seasoned, as their natural flavor is easily overwhelmed. So, for that reason, most recipes will use olive oil, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Maybe, here and there, you will find a recipe with some herbs in it too.
Garlic Scallops Gordon Ramsay-Style Ingredients
Before looking at how to cook pan-seared scallops, let’s discuss the simple ingredients.
This Gordon Ramsay garlic scallops recipe is super simple and only requires a couple of basic seasoning ingredients.
What makes this a Gordon Ramsay Garlic Scallop recipe is the technique he used. I’ve tried MANY in my day, and honestly, his is the only one that consistently works foolproof.
First up, you need scallops. There are many different options, but the most common are bay scallops and sea scallops.
Bay scallops (found closer to the shore) are much smaller than sea scallops (found in deeper waters). This mainly affects the cooking times. But some people do prefer the flavor of one above the other – I’ve never had such a “refined” palate to notice those minute differences.
Either way, you want to use large bay scallops and medium sea scallops. The best way to test their doneness is by using a probe thermometer to test the internal temperature.
Olive Oil & Unsalted Butter
Next, you need two fats. The first, olive oil, is to help cook the scallops without burning them. This will make them caramelize beautifully and get that delicious golden brown color. You can also use avocado oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil if you don’t have olive oil in the cupboard.
Then, you also need unsalted butter to help with the garlicky flavor. It’s just a creamy additive that helps enhance the natural flavor of the scallops.
Salt, Pepper, And Garlic
Finally, your three basic seasonings. Salt and pepper are given.
But the key here is the garlic. Always use fresh garlic for scallops. These are already relatively expensive seafood, and you don’t want to do an injustice by using old dried garlic flakes.
How To Cook Scallops In A Pan Like Gordon Ramsay’s
The key is the technique. This involves using the perfect temperature, cooking the scallops evenly, and cooking them for the perfect amount of time.
To start, rinse the scallops using cold water. Then, pat dry them with a paper towel.
The second trick is to use a hot pan with olive oil over high heat.
The third trick is to season the scallops well on one side first. This side will hit the pan first.
Next, add the scallops to the pan in a clockwise order. So the first one goes in at 12 o’clock, the second one at 1 o’clock, and so on. This is crucial! It helps you evenly cook the scallops and ensures they all turn in the correct order.
Finally, let the scallops cook for only about 90 seconds until golden brown. But test their temperature around the 70-second mark. This ensures you don’t overcook them.
The steps for the pan-seared scallops recipe below are slightly more complex. But as you can already see, it is quite easy if you know what you are doing. And Gordon Ramsay does!
Pan-Seared Scallops Variations
- Try adding diced garlic to the scallops after they have cooked for about a minute. This will give them an extra flavor kick!
- To add some extra crunch, try to garnish some finely chopped parsley or chives over the top of the scallops right before serving.
- You can also use different spices to season the scallops. Try using paprika, cumin, or curry powder for a different flavor profile.
- You can also easily turn this dish into a tasty pasta meal by cooking some linguine and adding the sauce to the scallops. Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese for an even more delicious treat.
- Try using different types of herbs like thyme, oregano, or rosemary to give them a unique flavor.
- You can also add some diced tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, or bell peppers for a heartier meal.
- Try adding lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to brighten up the flavor of the dish.
- Use white wine or a combination of both white wine and vegetable stock to make the sauce.
It is possible to make Gordon Ramsay garlic scallops without thawing them first. Because as you may have noticed, frozen scallops are easier to find, and finding fresh scallops can be challenging.
Because scallops are relatively small, they defrost quickly and cook almost the same. The cooking time will only be slightly longer and you HAVE TO use high heat.
You can cook scallops in the oven, but personally, Gordon Ramsay’s pan-fried garlic scallops are much better. The crispy caramelized texture beautifully blends with the tender, buttery flesh.
Nevertheless, for baked scallops, you can preheat the oven to 400⁰F. They should bake for about 20 minutes in total. Remember to flip them over around the 10-minute mark.
How to Store
Refrigerator: To store leftovers, cover them with foil or plastic wrap then put them in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Freeze: To freeze, wrap the scallops tightly in plastic wrap then place them in an airtight container and put it in the freezer. They should stay good for about 3 months.
Reheat: You can reheat leftover seared scallops by pan-frying or baking them. To do this, preheat the oven to 400⁰F and bake for about 10 minutes or until they’re heated through.
For pan-frying, you can heat some butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and sauté the scallops for about 3 minutes per side, or until reheated through.
Gordon Ramsay Garlic Scallops – Juicy, Tender, And Easy Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound scallops, rinsed, dried completely
- Sea salt flakes, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Preheat the olive oil in a large (preferably non-stick) frying pan. Use high heat. Once heated, lower the heat to medium-high.
- Meanwhile, season the scallops on one side with salt and pepper.
- Once the pan is pre-heated, add the scallops one by one, the seasoned side going into the pan first. Start at 12 o'clock, and keep adding at every hour mark. The next scallop is added at the 1 o'clock mark, the next at the 2 o'clock mark, and so on.
- Leave the scallops to cook for 45 seconds. You can season the top side with salt and pepper.
- Then, turn each scallop onto the other side, starting at the 12 o'clock one first (the one that has been added to the pan first).
- When all of the scallops have been turned, switch off the heat. Add the butter and garlic and swirl them around in the pan. The residual heat will continue cooking the scallops and infuse the garlic butter flavor.
- After another 35-40 seconds, test the internal temperature of the biggest scallop. If it is golden brown and has reached 115⁰F, you can remove them from the pan completely. Again, the residual heat will keep increasing the temperature to 125-130⁰F, which is the ideal temp.
- Finally, let the seared scallops rest for 1-2 minutes, then serve them with your favorite accompaniment.