Pan-seared Lemon Basil Scallops with Spinach and Bacon

I’ve never made scallops before because they always seemed intimidating to me – they can be so finicky. But like shrimp, once you get the hang of it, they can be very easy to make. They’re also much less expensive to cook at home then to get in a restaurant.

If you’ve never had or made them before, try them out. When bought dry and fresh, they can be very sweet!

Pan-seared Lemon Basil Scallops with Spinach and Bacon

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: Medium
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  • 1 large lemon
  • 3 slices of turkey bacon
  • 1 pound jumbo sea scallops (about 10)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil 


  1. Finely grate lemon rind, and set aside. Squeeze lemon and set aside.
  2. Cook bacon in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Coarsely chop and set aside. Increase heat to high.
  3. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add scallops to drippings in pan and don’t move them (You might also have to do them in batches  depending on the size of your pan so they don’t steam. They shouldn’t be close together or they will steam).  Cook 2 1/2 minutes and flip. Add butter to pan and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate; keep warm.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half of spinach; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add remaining half of spinach; cook 2 minutes or just until wilted, stirring frequently. Remove from pan and put in a separate bowl. Stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper and set aside.
  5. Add wine and reserved lemon juice to pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of pan. Combine water and cornstarch; add to pan. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add reserved lemon rind, remaining tablespoon of butter, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and basil. Remove from heat.
  6. Layer scallops on top of spinach sautee and top chopped bacon. Drizzle with lemon basil sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Adapted from:


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