fresh scallops on a plate ready to makepan seared scallops

Pan Seared Scallops

Inspired by a memorable dinner, these pan seared scallops are cooked with sake and served on a bed of braised fennel & leeks. Add some crusty bread to make a meal out of it!

fresh scallops on a plate ready to makepan seared scallops
Pan Seared Scallops

I cooked these pan seared scallops with sake and served them on a bed of braised fennel and leeks. Depending on the amount that you choose to prepare, this dish makes a perfect appetizer or dinner!

Ever go to a restaurant or an event and encounter a dish you immediately want to recreate in your own kitchen? Where you immediately think, How can I get my hands on the recipe?. Indeed, the jackpot in this situation is the one where you can meet the chef and they generously give you the recipe. (If this has ever happened to you, I would love to know!)

In most cases, however, we are faced with our senses conducting culinary detective work. Your tastebuds go on overdrive, trying to parcel out ingredients and seasonings. Sometimes the menu description helps. When you return to your kitchen and set upon recreating the dish, if you happen to capture the essence of the original dish, it is bliss!

I attended the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival last November, and one of the most memorable dishes from the Grand Dinner was the Pan Seared Scallops with Bonny Doon Vineyard Verjus Beurre Blanc. What impressed me most was the perfect preparation. Scallops can be challenging to execute as it is – preparing them perfectly for over 300 guests was absolutely commendable. The sauce was silky and refined, setting off the impeccable sear.

Pan Seared Scallops with Sake, Braised Fennel, and Leeks

Inspired by this dish, I went back to my own kitchen. I made pan seared scallops cooked in sake and served on a bed of braised fennel and leeks. The surprise for me was how simple it was to capture the flavors! You can easily make the sauce ahead of time. With scallops taking little time to sear, it makes for a lovely dish to prepare when entertaining, perfect as an appetizer. Or make a larger serving, grab some crusty bread, and make a meal out of it!

More Scallop Recipes

Pan Seared Scallops with Warm Asparagus, Kale, and Tangerine Salad
Cilantro Pea Purée with Seared Scallops
Seared Scallops with Citrus Salsa

Pan Seared Scallops

Inspired by a memorable dinner, these seared scallops with sake braised fennel & leeks have a great sear and a silky sauce. Add some crusty bread to make a meal out of it!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 175kcal


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb cut in half, then sliced very thinly crosswise
  • 1 leek quartered and sliced, white part only
  • 1/8 cup sake* optional
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 scallops
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper freshly ground


  • In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté fennel and leeks, seasoning with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Stir frequently until the fennel is transparent.
  • Add sake to the pan, and allow alcohol to cook off for about a minute.
  • Add chicken broth and bring sauce to a simmer. Stir in butter, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  • Season scallops lightly with salt and ground pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Sear scallops 2-3 minutes per side, about 5 minutes total.
  • Serve over bed of fennel and leeks and drizzle with the sauce.


*Feel free to substitute the sake with your favorite white wine or to omit altogether if that is your preference.


Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 353mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante


Recipe Rating

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  1. Abdul Dukich

    Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon (also known as green bacon). Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, or it may be boiled or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon is typically cooked before eating. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, as is some smoked bacon, but may be cooked further before eating.’

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  2. A Canadian Foodie

    Liren – if a dish is that memorable, one must make it! This looks stunning…. just the caramelization alone has me licking my lips. I love the presentation. Simple. Yum!

  3. Jun Belen

    I could taste the fennel and the leeks just by looking at your photograph, Liren. I usually sear my scallops in butter and serve it with crusty bread. I’d have to try it with the fennel and leeks. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Cheryl

    Love scallops and I never cook them at have inspired me !! I will try your recipe for sure!!

Kitchen Confidante®