The Washington Post

Pan-Fried Scallops With Crispy Chorizo

Pan-Fried Scallops With Crispy Chorizo 4.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Nicola Justine Davis for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Jul 5, 2022

This simple preparation calls for fresh, big scallops. The chorizo and butter add a richness to the mild seafood. The recipe calls for specific fresh herbs, but you can substitute your favorites or use just one herb. Serve the scallops with couscous or rice and/or a fresh green salad.

Total time: 25 mins

Storage Notes: Refrigerate for up to 1 day.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • For the couscous
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups plain couscous (see NOTES)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • For the scallops
  • 16 medium/large scallops (about 1 1/2 pounds) (see NOTES)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or another neutral oil
  • Fine salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces, 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces dry-cured chorizo, chopped small
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh curly parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill fronds and tender stems
  • Lemon, cut into 4 wedges, for serving


Make the couscous: In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the couscous and cook, stirring frequently, until the grains begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the water and salt and stir briefly to combine. Bring the water to a boil, cover and remove the pan from the heat. Let sit until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 7 minutes. Uncover and fluff the couscous with a fork.

Make the scallops: While the couscous cooks, remove the side muscle from each scallop by pulling it off and pat the scallops dry. This keeps them from spitting when added to the hot oil.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the scallops. They should sizzle when they hit the hot oil. Cook without moving them until they are seared to a caramel color, about 1 minute. Lightly season with salt and pepper, flip and cook on the other side until browned, about 1 minute.

Add the butter, chorizo, chives, parsley and dill, and as the butter starts to foam, baste the scallops for about 30 seconds. Keep your temperature at medium-high to help caramelize the scallops more as the butter melts, cooking 1 to 2 minutes, but adjusting the heat if the butter starts to burn. It’s okay if it browns and smells nutty.

Spoon the couscous onto individual plates and top it with scallops and some chorizo sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.

NOTES: When buying scallops, check labels and ask your fishmonger for dry scallops, which means fresh ones that are not chemically treated; they will sear properly. Wet scallops are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, a chemical that causes the scallops to expel water when cooked and can prevent a proper sear.

Do not substitute pearl, or Israeli, couscous, because it requires a different cooking method.

Recipe Source

Adapted from “The Seafood Shack” by Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick (Interlink Books, 2021).

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (4 scallops, 1/2 cup couscous and about 1/4 cup sauce): 792

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 50g 77%

Saturated Fat: 24g 120%

Cholesterol: 136mg 45%

Sodium: 937mg 39%

Total Carbohydrates: 55g 18%

Dietary Fiber: 4g 16%

Sugar: 0g

Protein: 28g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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