Is there anything better than creamy scallops and pasta? Oceanic flavors paired with a rich, creamy lemon caper sauce and seared scallops creates the real-deal-comfort-food-meal.
I absolutely love capers on just about anything but I especially love capers with seared scallops (and capers with shrimp)! But seared scallops in a creamy lemon caper sauce is truly something divine. We served this creamy lemon caper sauce topped with beautifully seared scallops and al dente orzo.
The creamy lemon caper sauce has a base of lemon juice, capers, anchovies, crushed red pepper, and garlic. After being fried briefly, until the anchovies have melted, we add white wine to the lemon caper sauce with reserved pasta cooking water. After the sauce simmers briefly, we add heavy cream to create the ultimate dreamy creamy lemon caper sauce for our seared scallops and orzo.
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 35-40 minutes
Ingredients for Seared Scallops in a Creamy Lemon Caper Sauce with Orzo
1 pound large, dry sea scallops, muscle removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste
CREAMY LEMON CAPER SAUCE WITH ORZO
16 ounces orzo
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic
3 anchovy filets
1 3.5-ounce jar nonpareil capers, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, more or less to taste
¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
½ cup white wine (or use no sodium chicken stock)
1 cup heavy cream
1 large lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain and rinse the orzo and toss with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.
Prepare Ingredients: Zest 1½ teaspoons lemon zest and then juice the lemon. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Combine the chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon zest (reserve remaining zest for garnish), anchovies, crushed red pepper, and drained capers in a bowl and toss to combine. Mince the parsley.
Prepare the Seared Scallops: Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high until very hot. Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Sear for about 1-2 minutes until very well browned and seared. Flip and cook an additional minute or so until just cooked through and opaque. Transfer the cooked scallops to a plate and tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Blot out most of the excess oil from the skillet.
Prepare the Creamy Lemon Caper Sauce: Return the skillet to medium high heat. Add the bowl with the garlic and capers and sauté for 5 minutes, mashing the anchovies until they’ve ‘melted’. Add the parsley and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and white wine and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Cook for 5-6 minutes until reduced slightly. Add the heavy cream and reserved pasta cooking water and stir to combine, and turn the heat to medium. Taste and season to your preferences. Once bubbly and thickened slightly, add the orzo and toss to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes more or until the orzo is warmed. Turn off the heat.