Pan Seared Scallops in Bacon Fat with Sauteed Veggies
How to Pan Sear Scallops in Bacon Fat for a 15 Minute Dinner
Pan seared scallops make for a fancy meal that you can whip up in 15 minutes or less! Savory, satisfying, and quick—you’ll even have time to cook a veggie saute to serve on the side. I’ll show you how to pan sear scallops in bacon fat (or any cooking fat you like), plus a simple side of sauteed squash, mushrooms, and spinach.
Scallops can seem intimidating if you’ve never cooked them before, but they are seriously one of the easiest proteins to cook. They literally only need 1-2 minutes on each side for a perfect sear, and they’ve got 4-5g of protein per ounce! I personally love Butcher Box’s frozen scallops because they’re wild-caught, I can keep them stored in my freezer, and they always thaw nicely.
Sometimes I’ll cook pan seared scallops in ghee or butter, and they always turn out delicious. But this time I’m showing you how to pan sear scallops in BACON fat for some added salty, umami flavor! Bacon wrapped scallops are a classic for a reason, and this method lets me enjoy the flavor pairing without dealing with the wrapping process.
Of course, if you’re not a fan of bacon or you’re pescatarian, just omit it! But if you’re open to it, the bacon pairs beautifully with the scallops and the veggies. The trio of butternut squash, mushrooms, and spinach is a perfectly hearty, comforting side dish to pair with the light scallops—but use any veggies you like!
Perfect Seared Scallops Meal
2 slices bacon, cooked & chopped (optional)
¼ cup onion, diced
¾ cup sliced mushrooms
¾ cup butternut squash, small cubes
4 cups spinach
coconut aminos, to taste
black pepper, to taste
(no salt needed if including bacon)
Bacon Fat Scallops
4oz Butcher Box frozen scallops, thawed*
1-2 Tbsp bacon fat (or butter, ghee, oil)
pepper, to taste (salt is optional)
½ lemon, juice & zest
*Note on Frozen Scallops
If using frozen scallops, be sure to transfer them to the fridge to thaw about 24 hours before you plan to cook them. Then, when you’re ready to cook, remove the thawed scallops from their packaging and place onto paper towels to dry. It helps to pat them dry and let them sit out at room temperature for a few minutes—this will help you get a better sear!
Cook Bacon & Saute Veggies
First and foremost, if we’re going to cook our pan seared scallops in bacon fat, we need to cook the bacon! For this meal, I cooked 2 strips which I then chopped/crumbled, but you can cook just one, or none—whatever suits you. When the bacon is crisped to your liking, transfer onto paper towels to let some of the fat drain before chopping or crumbling.
Most importantly, for those who want to sear scallops in bacon fat, you’ve got to reserve some of the bacon fat that’s left in your pan after cooking. I just pour about half of it into a bowl to use for my scallops, and I keep the other half in the same pan to use for my veggie saute next.
I heat that same pan with the bacon fat, saute some chopped onion for a minute or two, and then add in cubed butternut squash. Chop into small cubes so they’ll cook faster! I also add in some sliced mushrooms and cover the pan to create some steam to help them soften and reduce. Then, after 7-8 minutes, add a generous heap of spinach and allow to wilt for about a minute.
Finally, season to taste! No salt is needed if you’re using bacon fat, so I just add a bit of coconut aminos and black pepper. Stir to integrate, then set your veggie saute aside (or in the microwave to keep it warm) while you cook the scallops. They’ll only take around 3 minutes!
How to Pan Sear Scallops in Bacon Fat
You can wipe out the same pan that you used for the veggies, then add the reserved bacon fat (or cooking fat of choice) for your pan seared scallops. Heat the pan over medium-high to high heat, until it’s really hot and the bacon fat is almost smoking.That’s when you should add your scallops to the pan, and just let them sit still for 1-2 minutes so they can get a good sear!
Season to taste while they cook—I just used pepper, no salt needed because of the bacon fat. After about 90 seconds, I flip my pan seared scallops to reveal a browned, crisp edge and let them cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side. After that, they’re done! Finish with lemon juice and zest, some fresh herbs and sesame seeds if you like, and serve alongside your veggie saute.