Serve perfectly Pan-Seared Scallops on top of a bed of fresh sweet corn, peppers, and onions for a light, seasonal dinner for two that comes together in less than 15 minutes.
Be gone, weeknight dinner struggle! Seared Scallops on Corn Salad is HERE!
Can you just SEE the fresh summer flavor?! Really, friends. We are here to eat all the fresh summer veggies and fruits, and drink all the summer drinks under the bright beautifully warm sunshine.
Especially when summer lasts for like…2 seconds as it does here in Minnesota. We’ve got to enjoy every second of it!
So when dinner time rolls around after a long day, I can only think about one thing: sitting on the patio, eating dinner, watching the sunset. There’s not much brain juice left to have an elaborate dinner at that point, and my body just craves fresh summer produce (including in the form of ice cream, cheesecake, and pie for dessert…).
Since I can only imagine you’re in a similar situation of needing quick, easy weeknight dinners during those hot summer nights, let’s get straight to this Seared Scallop and Corn Salad recipe, because it’s game-changing! You’ll love that it’s ready in under 15 minutes, full of good-for-you ingredients, and naturally gluten-free. You can easily make it dairy-free, too!
What You’ll Need for this Easy Dinner
You’re going to love that the ingredients for this recipe include a whole lot of freshness that can come straight from your garden or farmer’s market. Because what’s better than fresh local produce in the summer? Basically NOTHING!
The corn salad that the scallops sit on top of is very similar to my corn salsa recipe. And it’s just as stinkin’ easy, as a summer dinner recipe, should be! It’s completely customizable and adaptable to what you already have on hand, so feel free to mix and match ingredients.
- Jumbo Sea Scallops – I recommend purchasing “dry” scallops if you can, opposed to wet. This difference comes down to how the scallops are preserved. Wet scallops are preserved in a liquid and can sometimes have more of an aftertaste, and dry scallops are not treated with any solution. This means they’re also much better to sear.
- Fresh Sweet Corn – y’all know I’m a huge lover of fresh sweet corn (my Iowa heart just can’t get enough). Find the freshest you can for this recipe because it shines!
- Red Bell Pepper – a beautiful bright punch of color and sweetness, you could also use orange or yellow bell peppers. Green peppers don’t quite deliver the same flavor profile we’re going for here, but if you love them you can try them too.
- Scallions – a wonderful garnish and mild onion flavor the scallion adds to this recipe.
- Jalapeno – for a fresh kick of heat. Not so much into spicy? You can scrape the seeds out of the pepper or simply omit it altogether.
- Garlic – naturally.
- Shallot – a mild, slightly sweet onion-type addition. You could also substitute finely chopped yellow onion. If you want to be bold, try red onion.
- Cilantro – all of these flavors beg to be paired with fresh cilantro. It balances out the whole dish and adds a beautiful brightness.
SERIOUSLY. That’s it! Now we’re on our way to flavor town, as we should be.
How to Make Scallops with Corn
First, start by sautéing the vegetables until slightly tender and warm. If you prefer to head in the corn salsa direction, you can always skip this step entirely and serve a raw corn salad. Either transfer the veggies to a bowl to cook the scallops in the same skillet (fewer dishes, YES!), or continue on with the scallops in a new skillet.
To pan sear the scallops, start by making sure they are pat dry. This will ensure they get a perfectly crisp sear on the outside of them. Don’t forget to salt and pepper the ends, which will add flavor, too.
Melt butter in a skillet and once it’s hot, place the scallops flat side down in the pan. Let them cook for about a minute and a half until a perfectly golden brown crust forms. The scallops should easily come up when they are ready to flip. If they don’t, give them another 30 seconds or so. Flip and let them cook, getting a beautiful exterior on that side as well.
Next up, all you have to do is plate the corn salad and top it with your beautiful pan-seared scallops and enjoy! I will say I’ve always had best results when enjoyed al fresco with the warm summer breeze and a chilled glass of rose, but whatever your situation might be, they’ll be delicious.
What to Serve with Scallops and Corn
There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the recipe as is for dinner. And I also totally get wanting a little more to go with it, too, especially when hungry stomachs are involved.
Naturally, my first instinct for any healthy summer dinner is to add in some carbs. And of course, a crusty baguette would be an excellent companion for this dinner. You could also make homemade flatbread or socca and serve it alongside this meal.
Sticking with the salsa theme, tortilla chips would also be a yummy way to transport any leftover corn salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Make sure you’re purchasing jumbo sea scallops. I also recommend purchasing “dry” scallops if you can, opposed to wet. See above post for the difference.
You could use shrimp in place of the scallops if needed. This would also be excellent with a light white fish.
Yes! It almost is, just substitute a high-heat oil in place of the butter.
Absolutely! It’s super easy to double – even triple – this recipe to feed a bigger family or to serve at a gathering.
Seared Scallops on Warm Corn Salad
- 1 TBSP oil of choice
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 4 scallions white and light green parts, chopped
- 1 small shallot bulb diced
- 1/2 jalapeno finely diced, optional to remove the seeds
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 corn on the cob ears kerneled
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 6 large sea scallops
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add red bell pepper, scallions, shallot, jalapeno, and garlic. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly tender. Add corn and cook for an additional 2 minutes until warmed through, taste testing for salt level.
- Meanwhile, pat scallops dry and salt and pepper both sides and heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted and hot, add scallops, with one flat side down, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Don't move scallops around as they start cooking – let them develop the golden brown crust. Flip when they're ready (they should easily come up) and cook again on the other flat side – you want a golden crust and translucent center. Be careful not to overcook.
- Assemble corn salad on a plate and add scallops on top. Garnish generously with freshly chopped cilantro and additional scallions as desired.