Seared scallops with leeks & lemon chilli butter

Scallops love a bit of lemon and chilli plus, they are ready in a flash.

Serves: 4 people
Prep: 10 mins
Cooking: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins


For the butter, mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, then beat well with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps of butter left. Spoon onto a large sheet of cling film, then wrap tightly in a sausage shape. Chill until firm (or put in the freezer if you’re short of time).

Set up a pan with a steamer or suspend a heatproof colander over the top of a pan. Cut the leeks in half lengthways, then slice into long strips, about the thickness of tagliatelle. Cover, then steam for 6 mins until tender, with no signs of squeakiness. Season, then set aside.

Dry the scallops on kitchen paper and season. Heat a heavy-based pan, then add the oil. Once hot, add the scallops, keeping them close together – this helps the sides to stay straight and tall rather than sagging. Sizzle for 2 mins until caramelised and you can see the heat creeping up the outside. Turn over with a palette knife, then fry for 1 min more. Take off the heat, then add a few good slices of the butter to the pan, spooning over the scallops as it melts.

To serve, wind a nest of warm leeks in the centre of 4 plates, top each with 3 scallops, spoon over the buttery sauce (it looks smart trickled around the plate), then sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Squeeze over a little lemon juice before you tuck in.


4 young, but not baby leeks leeks, trimmed
12 scallops, roes on or off
1 tbsp light olive oil
Lemon wedges, to serve

For the butter
250g pack butter, softened
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
zest 2 lemon
bunch parsley, leaves chopped, plus extra to serve

With thanks to BBC Good Food

Recipe from Good Food magazine, July 2008