Monday, 13 March 2017

#ewew cooks Seared Scallops & Prawns in Garlic Butter

I was gifted a box of frozen scallops and large-sized prawns by my sister some time after Chinese New Year. Now these are expensive ingredients that I wouldn't normally buy, so I had to think carefully of what to make with them.

I wanted to do justice to these luxurious ingredients (+ I've never bought nor cooked scallops before), so I searched the internet for some recipes and settled on the most tried and tested way.....Seared Scallops & Prawns in Garlic Butter (with Spaghetti Aglio Olio which I added into the mix)! ^.^


7 XL-sized prawns
10 scallops
5 cloves of garlic (minced)
Juice of one lemon

Marinade (for the prawns)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp light soy
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp salt


Clean prawns and trim the head and legs.   I'm not sure what type of prawns these were (since they were a gift) but they look like large black tiger prawns to me.

Butterfly prawns by making an incision along the back of the prawn (but do not cut all the way through)...easier said than done!  It was tough as my knife wasn't very sharp and the prawn shells were kinda hard, so getting the incision perfectly down the middle was difficult and the poor flesh got butchered along the way...yikes! O_o  The good thing was there were no entrails to remove as the prawns were very clean. Dry the prawns thoroughly and let it sit in the fridge (until you're ready to cook).

Marinate the prawns with the marinade ingredients (at least an hour before you're ready to cook) and put it back into the fridge.

Wash the scallops and pat them dry.  Remove the adductor muscles (a little rectangular piece at the side of the muscle) as they're supposed to be a little chewier.  


I removed two (you can see it in the centre of the plate) but then I decided not to remove the rest as it'll make the scallops even smaller....kekeke! :D  Season the scallops with salt and freshly cracked black pepper just before they go into the pan.

Put in a tbsp of butter (coz everything is always better with butter *wink wink*) and a glug of vegetable oil into a pan over medium heat.  A cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan will work well because they can withstand a high temperature.

Sear them for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side.  Flip them over and season the other side with salt and black pepper.  The key to browning is to ensure the scallops are thoroughly dry when they go into the pan. Remove the scallops when done.

Put the prawns (flesh side down) into the same pan to sear (I paid the price for being too lazy to change to a fresh pan as the oil + butter was already turning too browned >.<).  It should take about 6 - 8 minutes or when the prawns turn pink.  Sorry there's no pic of the prawns searing in the pan.  It was a bit chaotic then coz the butter was on the verge of getting burnt in the pan...haha! :D  Remove the prawns from the pan.

Add the minced garlic to the pan.  Once the garlic is browned, deglaze the pan by squeezing in the juice of one lemon.  Scrape off all the good bits from the bottom of the pan.  I know, I know, the sauce looks you see how chaotic it was?!  I tasted the sauce and, luckily, it was alright, no burnt flavour...phew!

Spoon the sauce over the scallops, add some (say) grilled asparagus and you'll have yourself a lovely little starter of seared scallops and asparagus.  The scallops were plump, meaty and juicy.

Excuse me if the presentation doesn't look all that enticing as the sauce took on a much darker colour than I would have liked.  This was my first attempt at cooking scallops (the keyword being attempt).

Though the prawns weren't the prettiest looking, at least taste wise, it had loads of flavour from the garlic and richness from the browned butter. ^o^

The seared prawns with the sauce can also work as a main meal with some roasted potatoes and vegetables.

But we decided to have something more substantial.  After all, 7 prawns and 10 scallops could probably feed just one person (hehe!).  So, we had our pan-seared scallops and prawns with spaghetti aglio olio instead (which I pan-fried with lots of garlic and chilli flakes).

Now, if I were to do this Seared Scallops & Prawns in Garlic Butter all over again, I'll do it differently for sure.  I'm well aware that butter browns quickly but I thought it'd be safe by adding oil to the mix.  But then, I think the honey in the prawn seasoning also played a part in the extra browning.

I should have put my long hours of watching cooking/food shows to good use...and used just oil first to sear the scallops and prawns and then finish if off with butter when they're nearly done.  That way the butter won't get too browned and the sauce won't take on such a dark colour.

I think the most difficult part of making this dish was to butterfly the prawns properly.  As you can see, my lack of knife skills meant my 'butterfly' technique wasn't all that great.  Come to think of it, I've done this before with the same pathetic result :(  None of the butterflied prawns stayed flat (except one), some were twisted and some were curled up when cooked.

That's why it's probably best to pay someone to butterfly the prawns properly (and beautifully) and cook them for a restaurant...that won't look like this! ;P

In the end, it tasted alright albeit not looking alright.  All's well that ends well.  At least I managed to get one almost perfectly butterflied prawn (the one on the left).  That should count for something, right? ^_~

Serves 2 - 3


  1. I could see that your prawns and scallops are really huge! What a lucky lady!

    You are smart to cook Spaghetti Aglio Olio and mix them in so that one could enjoy these seafood's taste to maximum plus retain its crunchiness. Only Spaghetti Aglio Olio is the most suitable. Invite me!

    1. Hehe....come, come! Yes, you're right...when you have beautiful seafood, you let it shine with just a simple pasta :)

  2. Oh! You got me at your first photo :) Though I am not crazy over seafood generally, I want to eat your prawn and scallops aglio olio! I won't mind the color of the sauce since color is flavor. Ah, it looks really good and I happen to be hungry right now. It's killing me. LOL!

    1. Kekeke.....that's why it's not advisable to go blog hopping when you're hungry ^.^ And yes, those bits at the bottom of the pan are the best bits! =)

  3. I probably wouldn't bother with the prawns. I got a 0% success rate at cooking decent prawns >.< ...

    The scallops, I wonder if they would be any good if steamed with ginger and garlic, frozen as they were... :/

    1. Even though these were frozen scallops, they tasted fresh. I'm not sure if the strong taste of ginger will overpower the delicate flavour of the scallops. One way of doing it Chinese-style would be to just stir-fry them with asparagus or french beans (for a cheaper alternative).

  4. nice job cooking and photographing at the same time! :) i had to cook some prawns last weekend at a DIY grill-&-steamboat restaurant, and your prawns turned out much, much better than mine! :D

    1. I actually thought you cooked some home...until I read the balance of the sentence. Aiyah, cooking prawns at a DIY grill-&-steamboat restaurant does not count as cooking, Sean....haha! :D

  5. That was a quite a meal. You can't go wrong with prawns and scallops unless they are over cooked.

    1. Yes, you can't go wrong when you start with luxurious ingredients! ;)

  6. I know pan seared scallops definitely need techniques as I always saw those contestants in MasterChef being scolded by the judges due to overcooked the scallops :P

    1. But we're not MasterChef judges who are looking for perfectly cooked scallops...haha! :D Actually, it's quite difficult to overcook scallops I think. I don't even time it...I flip it when it has developed the nice browning I want. Usually it'll be slightly under but I reckon that's better than being overcooked.


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