Simple Scallops with Lemon Zest, Garlic and Capers and Weekend of Love!

scallops in saute pan

Love is in the air and isn’t it fitting that I just arrived home from my cousin’s wedding? Love was certainly evident in Phoenix as we began the weekend meeting Zoe at the airport, and then devouring Mexican food at Filiberto’s, a great place we found on Yelp. After a few hours baking in the fabulous sunshine, we followed it with a family dinner at my parent’s new abode. It wasn’t actually in their abode, but it was in the private dining room of their new retirement community. Zoe had a particularly good time!


The next day found us having breakfast with family and my long lost cousin. Well, she feels like a long lost cousin, because we don’t get to see her often enough. For that matter we don’t get to see any of our family often enough. The one thing I’ve always wished is that we lived closer to our relatives. Too many folks family can be a real challenge, and I’m not saying that mine is anywhere near perfect, but I’ve always loved getting together with my relatives. There is something so comforting about being surrounded by those with the same roots.

Growing up I never saw my cousins that often. Two were in California and I had six in Illinois. My family was never one to plan too many family events so I relished the occasions when we did get together. I still love the familiarity of sharing memories and one can only do that with people that knew them way back when.  It is true that you can’t choose your family, and sometimes they aren’t what you want, and don’t give what you expect. I believe though, that if one could ever figure out how to get along as a family, then maybe we just might have the key to solving world peace.

Phoenix was glorious and the trees were heavy with oranges. The flowers were beginning to scent the air and the backdrop of Camelback Mountain made for a beautiful ceremony.


Though it is hard to find the time to chat when surrounded by 200 some people, it was small snippets and “snapchats” that made the evening. I also got to show my dance moves on the dance floor, and luckily no one thought to shoot a video. I am the type that doesn’t care about who’s watching, and hopefully no one was watching!


We finished the weekend with  breakfast at Bagels and Bialy’s and loaded our suitcase with 1 1/2 dozen bialys to freeze upon arrival back in Denver. Zoe managed to eat half of the latke fried egg stack with cheese sauce and bacon, and regretfully we weren’t able to take a doggy bag.


So now we are approaching another weekend of love. Well, I can always use love. This scallop recipe is one I adore! It is simple and quick and totally luxurious enough for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Not only is it perfect for an appetizer, it also makes a great entree when served over pasta or rice. If finding the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then I guarantee this is one way to do it. And vice versa. My Manservant could even make this if he wanted too!

This recipe requires garlic. And lemon. And some chili flakes because love always needs a little spice, does it not? Scallops are easy to cook as long as you don’t overcook them. Remember to remove them from the heat a bit before you think they are done. They will continue cooking for a moment or so. Have the wine ready. This is ready in a jiffy!


Sauteed Scallops with Lemon and Garlic
Slightly adapted from: More Classic Italian Cooking (Marcella Hazan)
Time to Prepare: About 15 minutes
Yield: 2 for an entree though Manservant could have easily eaten more! 4 for an appetizer

12 oz frozen  bay scallops thawed according to package directions  (Make sure these are really dry before putting in hot pan)
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 t garlic, chopped fine
sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of red chili flakes
1 T parsley, chopped fine
1 1/2 T tiny capers, drained
3 T roasted red peppers, chopped
2 1/2 T fine, dry breadcrumbs (if I’m out of breadcrumbs I dry out a piece of toast and then grate it)
Lemon Zest from 1/2 a lemon

Preheat broiler to high with rack on the top shelf. Heat olive oil and garlic in a small saute pan over medium heat, until it turns pale gold. Add dried scallops, a pinch of salt and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, for no more than 5 minutes, or until scallops are almost cooked. Remove from heat and add parsley, capers, roasted red peppers, lemon zest and 1 1/2 T bread crumbs. This helps soak up a bit of the liquid that the scallops release. You can put these in pretty scallop shells or leave them in the pan. Sprinkle with the rest of the bread crumbs and place under a preheated broiler for about 1 minute, or until scallop mixture turns golden.

Serve with rice or pasta for an entree dish. Be prepared to swoon!


scallops in saute pan

More Simple and Romantic Recipes:
Chocolate Lava Cake
Hot Fudge Cake
Salted Honey Rose Tart
Salted Butterscotch Chocolate Tart
Mussels in White Wine and Garlic
Brazilian Coconut Lime Shrimp Stew
Ziti Al Fresco

Pin to Make Later:

These scallops are super fast and super easy to make. Lots of lemon and garlic and capers. Oh my! #scalloprecipes #seafood

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  • shannon weber
    February 12, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    fun trip! especially at this time of year…a nice break from the cold, and phoenix is really beautiful this time of year. What a great photo of you, too!
    these wee scallops look SCRUMPTIOUS, Abbe: i don't know why i don't make scallops more often, but that needs to change. 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:15 am

      This recipe will help you make the change, Shannon. So good and so simple!

  • Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    February 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    What a great trip! Looks like you made the most of your time. And thanks for sharing the photos. Love your dress and all that sunshine. Scallops are such a perfect choice for Valentines Day. I'm so looking forward to this weekend. Scallops, SNL 40th Anniversary, Dog Show at the Coliseum …..

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:15 am

      I was slumming at the dog show, too! And I loved the SNL special but it made me feel old. 40 years? It just can't be!

  • Sharon D
    February 12, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Whoa..that looks super yummy, Abbe. And you look beautiful in that dress! Happy Love Day in advance. xo ❤ ❤

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:14 am

      They were very yummy, Sharon! And thank you! Happy Valentine's Day to you, also!

  • Cheri Savory Spoon
    February 11, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Abbe, sounds like a wonderful wedding, phoenix is supposed to be in low eighties today. And these scallops look wonderful, love how you prepared them. P.S. love your little black dress!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:13 am

      Phoenix is so glorious this time of year! Thanks about the dress. Amazing how fun it can be to put one on!

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    February 11, 2015 at 5:02 am

    I love that photo of you three. 🙂

    John's favorite is scallops and I can't wait to make this dish for him. Winner.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:12 am

      Thanks Maureen. It was so fun being with Zoe. John will love these!

  • Cathleen
    February 11, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Sounds like you had such a great time!
    And these scallops! Wow, they look to DIE for!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:08 am

      Good time was had by all! Thanks Cathleen. These are great scallops!

  • Michelle Nahom
    February 11, 2015 at 2:29 am

    This looks delicious! I will never turn down scallops!! Pinned!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:07 am

      Thanks so much Michelle. I hope you love them as much as I did!

  • Juliana
    February 10, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Yum! The scallops look awesome, packed with flavors that I love…what an awesome way to celebrate Valentine's Day!
    Enjoy your week Abbe 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:04 am

      Always fun to celebrate anything, isn't it Juliana!

  • La Table De Nana
    February 10, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    This dish looks great..:) And I do love your little black dress:)

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:03 am

      Thanks and thanks! I so love finding the right dress!

  • Kitchen Riffs
    February 10, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    I love scallops! And they're Mrs KR's favorite food. So of course I'll be making this! Really good recipe, fun post (and pictures!). Thanks.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 17, 2015 at 4:03 am

      Sounds like you know the way to her heart, John. Thanks!

  • Sue/the view from great island
    February 10, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I adore tiny bay scallops, but I can never find them fresh, I'll look for them in the frozen section, this is too good to pass up!!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      I used to think you had to buy them fresh, but these really turned out great. Enjoy, Sue!

  • Sippity Sup
    February 10, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Sadly I didn't see my cousins much as a kid. Unfortunately that trend continues as an adult. Still, family connections are important and I'm glad you enjoy yours. GREG

  • Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    February 10, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Abbe – this is such a fun post! I love your dress, the flowers – the food and this recipe! I adore scallops especially when well flavored and melt in your mouth delicious – as I'm sure these were 🙂 Hope you're having some "better" weather and a wonderful week!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      The flowers were gorgeous, weren't they? These scallops were awesome! Thanks Tricia. The weather is good now, but supposed to change!

  • SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    February 10, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    What a beautiful place for a wedding and the weather looks perfect. These scallops with garlic and lemon sound so delicious!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      The weather was perfect! Totally delicious and a great dish for one's repertoire! Thanks!

  • Holly @
    February 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Love the dress you found to wear to the wedding, Abbe! And this dish is a winner too, scallops are among my favorite foods and I rarely (which means NEVER) made them at home. Thanks for this recipe to encourage me along.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks Holly. Everyone thought I was very elegant which I haven't felt in a long time! You should make these. They are super easy and really are mouth wateringly good!

  • mimi rippee
    February 10, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Fabulous! I love all of the capers and goodies! Pretty dress, btw!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks Mimi! The capers add so much. I love capers a lot! This was so good!

  • Karen Harris
    February 10, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    What a wonderful time! I love weddings. It is such a happy event for family to share. Speaking of sharing I could share a pan of these scallops with my husband . . . maybe. On second thought, I might just want to keep them for myself. They look delicious.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Keep them for yourself. I could have eaten them all. Manservant could have eaten double the recipe. They really were that good! Thanks Karen!

  • Angie Schneider
    February 10, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I wish I could cook half as good as you! I LOVE LOVE scallops and this seems relatively easy to prepare. Can't wait to give it a try!
    That's a lovely family photo, Abbe.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Who are you kidding? I have no doubt that I would be very, very happy in your kitchen! Thanks, Angie. And yes this is way easy to prepare!

  • La Torontoise
    February 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Abbe, I read your blog for a while, but time is packed and never got a moment to write.
    I love scallops, and I love garlic: -)
    Will go to the fish market to give my family this special treat over the weekend!!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      What a nice note and so appreciated! Your family will love it, but you may want to double the quantity! The garlic makes everyone swoon!

  • Liz Berg
    February 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    What a terrific photo of you three! Sounds like a fun, memorable weekend. I sure wish Bill liked scallops–as this would be an ideal V-Day dish!!
    P.S. Off to Denver early tomorrow. My mom has taken a turn and my dad is having a tough time with it 🙁

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      February 10, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks Liz! This is a great dish for V-Day. Let me know if I can help while you are here.