Pan-Seared Scallops With Melted Leeks


A list of the reasons to cook this simple seafood recipe reads like a brag sheet. The pairing of melted leeks with juicy scallops and a spicy olive relish is elegant and original, and it comes together in just twenty minutes! Not to mention, this dinner is healthful, too. Pair with a crisp white wine like Vermentino or Chablis, and enjoy this restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of your own home. Shopping tip: Castelvetranos are a buttery, green variety of olive that are worth seeking out for their mild, salty flavor. If you can’t find them, Cerignolas are a decent substitute.

Pan-Seared Scallops With Melted Leeks Recipe
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
4 serves


  • ¾ cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, torn

  • 1 red Fresno chile, finely chopped

  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest plus 2 tsp. fresh juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 6 large leeks, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 ½ pounds large sea scallops, patted dry

  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for serving


  1. Stir together olives, chile, lemon zest and juice, 1 tablespoon oil, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

  2. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium. Add leeks, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 12 to 16 minutes. Divide mixture among plates. Wipe skillet clean.

  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over high. Season scallops with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add scallops to skillet and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and mostly opaque, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve scallops over leeks with olive mixture and parsley.

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