Pan Seared Scallops with Raspberry Gastrique

Elevate your romantic, at-home date night by serving Pan Seared Scallops with Raspberry Gastrique. This entree looks and sounds fancy, but is incredibly easy to make. Makes 4 small servings.

Love having date night at home? You need to check out Date Night at Home, as well as Date Night At Home Ideas: Takeout Food + Drink!

Close up of Seared Scallops with Raspberry Gastrique on a white plate

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. And I don’t know about y’all, but instead of arranging a fancy pants restaurant dinner (and childcare for said evening), my husband and I stick to at-home Valentine’s date night.

We’ve been doing this for years, and this year, we’re shaking it up with SCALLOPS in a sweet-and-sour sauce that sounds fancy but is actually super simple to make.

Why I love this recipe:

These Pan Seared Scallops with a Raspberry Gastrique are adapted from a recipe I received during a cooking class I attended in Hattiesburg, Miss. My mom got me a ticket to the cooking class as a birthday present, and I still have the recipes we made that night!

However, I learned how to make a blueberry gastrique that evening, and in preparation for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to change this recipe up with raspberries.

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    The combination of raspberries in the gastrique leads to a delicious sweet-tart-acidic punch. And when paired with the decadent, buttery pan seared scallops… well… this is date night done right!

    Other dishes you might want to serve for an at-home Valentine’s Day: Cast Iron Ribeye (or Broiled Steak) | Spinach Madeline | Homemade Mashed Potatoes | Vegan Green Beans with Toasted Pine Nuts

    Need some Valentine’s date night inspo? Head on over to my Valentine’s Day Recipe Index for some ideas.

    Close up of a pan seared scallop sitting on a white plate with raspberry gastrique

    What you need to make this recipe:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    In addition to these tools, you’ll need a few ingredients, as well:

    • White vinegar
    • Seedless raspberry preserves — if you have the kind that’s got seeds, you’ll need a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. It’s a hassle, but can be done if absolutely necessary. We just really don’t want seeds in our gastrique.
    • Granulated sugar
    • Sea scallops
    • Kosher salt and black pepper
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Unsalted butter

    How to make a Gastrique

    You want to make this in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Combine the vinegar, preserves and sugar, and season ’em with a dash of salt.

    Bring the ingredients to a boil, then lower the heat and reduce by half. When that’s happened, remove the gastrique sauce from the heat, cover and set aside for later.

    How to make Seared Scallops

    How to prepare the scallops

    Pinch the side muscles, which are the little tags on the side of the scallop, with your fingers. They’ll pull away easily. While they’re safe to eat, they are tougher than that of the rest of the scallop.

    Pat the scallops dry. We want them to be really dry because otherwise, the extra moisture will splatter when we add them to the pan.

    Season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper.

    Cook the Scallops

    In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil, too. We want the fat to be creaming hot, so test the heat by sprinkling a few water droplets into the skillet. If it sizzles, it’s time to cook.

    Cook the scallops in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Space them apart in the warm pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Do not move them, so as to achieve a beautiful sear. Flip using tongs, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.

    When the scallops are golden brown on both sides and opaque, they’re done. They should be firm to the touch, but still have a little give. They will become chewy if overcooked, so please keep your eye on them and the time as you cook.

    Ladle the gastrique onto the serving plates, and arrange the warm scallops over it. Serve immediately, and enjoy warm.

    Overhead photo of Pan Seared Scallops with Raspberry Gastrique on a tray with pink drinks, napkins and forks

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What kind of pan is best for searing scallops?

    A nonstick skillet or a cast iron skillet.

    How do you tell if pan seared scallops are done?

    The scallops will become opaque when they’re done. We also want them to have a beautiful golden brown sear on both sides.

    Do you have to wash scallops before cooking?

    No. I never wash my scallops, but I always recommend patting them dry. In the cooking process, we add the scallops to screaming hot oil and butter, and there will be a lot of splatter if the scallops are wet.

    Should you brine scallops?

    No. You don’t need to take that step to pan sear scallops to pair with this raspberry gastrique.

    What is a gastrique sauce? What is a gastrique reduction?

    A gastrique is basically a sweet-and-sour sauce that’s a combination of sugar and vinegar, plus whatever other flavors you’d like to add. (We are adding raspberry here, but you can add other fruits, too, if that’s more your speed.) A traditional gastrique calls for caramelized sugar, though we don’t do that in this recipe.

    What do you pair with pan seared scallops?

    Obviously, this raspberry gastrique is delicious with it, though it’s not required. The buttery scallops are beautiful when served alongside a Wild Rice Salad or a Strawberry Romaine Salad!

    Collage of two images showing pan seared scallops on white plates with raspberry gastrique

    Tips for Making PERFECT Pan Seared Scallops

    • Your pan needs to be screaming hot!
    • Pat those scallops dry! If they’ve still got some water on ’em, the fat will splatter when you place them in the pan.
    • When placing the scallops in the pan, make sure each scallop has about 1″ of space around the edges. Overcrowding the pan will bring down the temperature, and it’s harder to cook lots and lots of scallops at the same time! Personally, I like to place 5-6 in my skillet at most.
    • Once you place the scallops into the hot pan, don’t give in to temptation and move them. This will give the scallops a beautiful crust and golden brown color when you flip them.
    • Only cook the scallops for 2-3 minutes at most on each side. Be sure not to overcook because they will become rubbery.
    • The scallops will be opaque when they’re done.

    Does this sound like something you’d like to make for an at-home romantic dinner?

    Scroll on down to learn how you can make it…

    two white plates of seared scallops with two silver forks
    Yield: 4 servings

    Seared Scallops with Raspberry Gastrique

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Elevate your romantic, at-home date night by serving Seared Scallops with Raspberry Gastrique. This entree looks and sounds fancy, but is incredibly easy to make. The gastrique is a simple sweet-and-sour sauce, made in this recipe by reducing raspberry preserves, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Sear the scallops over high heat, and serve over the reduced tart-and-sweet raspberry sauce. Make this easy but fancy romantic dish for date night!

    Ingredients

    Gastrique

    • 1 cup white vinegar
    • ¼ cup raspberry preserves, seedless
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • A pinch of kosher salt

    Scallops

    • 1 ½ lbs. sea scallops, patted dry
    • Kosher salt and black pepper, for seasoning
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    Instructions

    Make the Gastique

    1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the vinegar, preserves and sugar. Season with the dash of salt.
    2. Bring to a boil, then lower to heat.
    3. Reduce the mixture by half, then cover and set aside.

    Cook the Scallops

    1. Prepare the scallops: Pinch the side muscles, which are the little tags on the side of the scallop, with your fingers. They’ll pull away easily. While they’re safe to eat, they are tougher than that of the rest of the scallop. Pat dry and season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper.
    2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Drizzle in the olive oil, too. We want this to be super hot when you add the scallops, so test the heat by sprinkling a few water droplets into the skillet. If it sizzles, it’s cooking time.
    3. Cook the scallops in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Space them apart in the warm pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Do not move them. (Not moving the scallops will help them get that beautiful sear.)
    4. When the time is up, flip using tongs, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
    5. When the scallops are golden brown on both sides and opaque, they’re done. They should be firm to the touch, but still have a little give. They will become chewy if overcooked, so please keep your eye on the timer as you cook them.
    6. Ladle the gastrique onto the serving plates, and arrange the warm scallops over it. Serve immediately, and enjoy warm.

    Notes

    Please note the total time includes multiple rounds of cooking scallops, not one. If you cook the scallops for 20 minutes, they WILL be overcooked.

    If you’re still hesitant about cooking scallops, I found this tutorial from The Kitchn really informative and helpful.

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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    4

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 390Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1416mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 0gSugar: 22gProtein: 35g

    Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    12 Comments

    1. Seriously, this dish is absolutely stunning! I am so going to win date-night with this 😉 And thank you for being a place we can all come together over food – SO SO important, no matter what the political climate is.

    2. What a lovely sentiment at the beginning of this post. 🙂 As for the scallops – I am totally in love with the sound of this recipe.

    3. I’m with you on the at-home Valentine’s celebration. My husband and I prefer to stay away from the crowds, reservations, and pre-fixe dinners. It’s much relaxed and romantic at home!

    4. These are probably the most beautiful seared scallops that I’ve ever seen! Love the pop of color from the raspberries here. <3

    5. I love scallops! They are up there for being my favorite seafood!! Nice presentation of these delicious scallops! Nice commentary too!

    6. What a beautiful and delicious recipe you created here! I’ll ask my husband to recreate this for us, I love the flavors. Attending cooking classes is a lot of fun and source of many great inspirations.

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