Main Dishes/ Seafood

Fresh Sea Scallops with Sage and Garlic

fresh sea scallops with garlic and sage non-dairy butter on a floral ceramic plate

Sea scallops have always been my favorite seafood. The delicate flavor of sea scallops is an evanescent pleasure. But it’s easy to mess up fresh sea scallops. Overcook them, and they become hard and rubbery. Undercook them, and they’re gelatinous.

I found a package of fresh sea scallops in my local Trader Joe’s, so I ran home and cooked them with sage and garlic (non-dairy) butter for dinner that night. Sea scallops don’t last more than a day or two in the fridge or they’ll lose their allure and become fishy tasting.

To me, the best way to cook fresh sea scallops is to sauté them in non-dairy butter. They cook so quickly that you can’t take your eyes off the pan. Prepare the rest of the meal first, then heat up the butter (in this case non-dairy butter with sage, garlic and salt) until it bubbles, carefully drop in the scallops, allow them to cook for a minute or two, then flip them over and cook for another minute or two until they’re firm, but still tender. Serve them immediately.

In my younger years, I used to swirl the scallops around the pan, flipping them needlessly. They often broke when I did this, and I frequently overcooked them. I’ve tried searing them, but they often end up overcooked on the outside, and undercooked inside. (If you have the skill and a very hot burner, sear them for the best flavor.)

Watch the pan closely while sautéing scallops. Touch the top of each scallop with your spatula to test for doneness. If a scallop starts to feel firm, flip it over and test the other side. Sometimes one side is still pink and wobbly while the other side is already cooked. Remove each scallop from the pan as soon as both sides are opaque and firm but still tender. Seconds can mean the difference between perfection and a rubbery mess.

In this recipe, I mix sage and garlic with non-dairy butter and a little salt. The flavors compliment the sea scallops without overwhelming them. If you don’t have fresh sage and garlic, substitute dried sage and garlic powder. If you don’t have non-dairy butter, use a mixture of coconut and olive oils. The dish won’t taste buttery, but if the scallops are fresh and perfectly cooked, it won’t matter.

Springhouse Turtle Eats

Fresh Sea Scallops with Sage and Garlic

By Springhouse Turtle Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cooking Time: 2-5 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Non-dairy butter with sage and garlic enhance the sweet flavor of fresh sea scallops.


  • 1 pound fresh sea scallops, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons non-dairy butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage (or 3 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt



In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the non-dairy butter with the sage and garlic.


Stir in the salt, and remove from heat. If making ahead of time, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.


In a frying pan large enough to hold the scallops in one layer, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it bubbles.


Add the scallops carefully to the pan, spreading them out in one layer.


Sauté the scallops for 1-2 minutes.


Flip each scallop over, and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.


Watch carefully, as scallops cook at different rates. Flip them over to ensure they're cooked evenly. Remove each scallop from the pan as soon as it's done.


Scallops are done when they're opaque (they may crack) and firm, but still tender. All the pink color should be gone. Be careful not to overcook the scallops or they will turn rubbery.


Put scallops on serving plate and pour remaining butter over them.


Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

Rinse the scallops in a colander under cold water.

fresh raw sea scallops in a plastic collander

Melt non-dairy butter with sage, garlic, and add salt. I used sage I grew in my garden last summer, dried and keep in my pantry.

non-dairy butter melted with sage and garlic in a small stainless steel pan with a stainless steel whisk

Heat the non-dairy butter mixture in a large frying pan until it bubbles.

melted non-dairy butter with sage and garlic bubbling in a stainless steel pan

Carefully add the fresh scallops in a single layer. Cook for a minute or two, then turn them over with a spatula.

fresh sea scallops cooking in sage and garlic non-dairy butter in a stainless steel pan

The scallops are done when they are firm but still tender, and all the pink color is gone. Cracks are OK.

fresh sea scallops cooked in sage and garlic non-dairy butter in a stainless steel frying pan

Serve and eat while they’re hot and delightful.

fresh sea scallops with sage and garlic non-dairy butter on a floral ceramic plate

Springhouse Turtle Eats



You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply