Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

4.78 from 22 votes
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Caramelized scallops with roasted red pepper coulis is a beautiful dish that is going to please any seafood lover. It’s so easy and fast to prepare!

Caramelized Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

I used Thomas Keller’s simple and essential technique to accomplish perfectly cooked scallops. I swear, it really is simple, it just requires you to keep an eye on things as they cook fast. I served these caramelized scallops with a curried roasted red pepper coulis, and my husband had a huge grin on his face with each bite, and I hope you will too!

Scallops have a very delicate lightly sweet earthy flavor. They are my favorite shelled mollusks from the sea with oysters coming in a close second. Jumbo scallops are the way to go for this dish, they give nice large portions and don’t overcook too quickly so you can get a nice golden crust.

scallops cooking in a frying pan

I brined the scallops for 10 minutes before cooking to season them all the way through, and man were they delicious! I also wanted to create a quick and flavorful roasted red pepper sauce that enhanced the flavors of these scallops but didn’t overpower the dish. Roasting the pepper over an open flame gave a deeper flavor to the sauce and brought out its natural sweetness.

Adding some sweet and delicious coconut milk elevates the smoothness of the sauce while fresh shallots, ginger and curry powder give some pungency and depth. I also cut asparagus stalks into small thin coins, then sautéed them in a little butter and seasoned with salt and pepper to serve with the scallops. So simple, easy and irresistible!

fork lifting a piece of scallop off a plate

What are some tips to achieve caramelized scallops?

Dry the scallops thoroughly on a paper towel after brining, so you caramelize and not steam. Don’t use a nonstick pan, stainless steel gives a more attractive caramelized surface. Sear scallops over high heat! Do not move the scallops once in the pan, allow to cook until the bottoms brown and release on its own, and then flip. The scallops only need 2-3 minutes on each side so keep a close watch. You want tender and almost buttery textures scallop pieces with each bite.

Scallops with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

Caramelized scallops with roasted red pepper coulis is a beautiful dish that is going to please any seafood lover. It's so easy and fast to prepare!
4.78 from 22 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American



  • 1 pound jumbo scallops, tough side muscle removed (about 8-10 pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
  • black pepper, as needed for seasoning
  • microgreens, for garnish if desired

Scallop Brine

  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup water, hot
  • 4 cups ice water

Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

  • 1 cup red bell pepper, yields about ⅔ of roasted pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon ginger, ground


  • asparagus, one bunch, cut into thin ¼ coins, tops removed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

  • Roast the red pepper directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, occasionally turning until the peppers are blackened all over. Transfer the pepper to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, allow to cool completely. Peel the pepper and discard the skin, seeds, and core.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine the peppers with the oil, shallot, curry powder, coconut milk, salt, and ginger. Puree coulis until very smooth, then strain through a sieve to remove air bubbles. Season with additional salt if needed. Set aside until ready to serve.


  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine salt with boiling water, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add ice water to cool the brine.
  • Add scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain the scallops, rinse under cold water and arrange in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place a paper towel on top and gently press to remove any moisture. Allow them to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil in a large stainless steel pan over medium-high heat until it ripples and begins to smoke. Sprinkle scallops lightly with salt and add them to the pan, without crowding.
  • Cook the scallops without moving them, until the bottoms are a rich golden brown, 3 to 3 ½ minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. Turn the scallops and caramelize the second side, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Light season with freshly ground black pepper.


  • In a medium-sized pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat until melted. Add asparagus and saute about 2 minutes, or until just tender. Season with salt and pepper.

To Serve

  • Re-warm the coulis and then add ¼ cup of the sauce to the center of a serving plate. Add asparagus coins to the center of each plate. Add desired caramelized scallops on top of the sauce and asparagus. Garnish with microgreens.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 2 servings
Calories 588kcal (29%)Carbohydrates 16g (5%)Protein 35g (70%)Fat 42g (65%)Saturated Fat 10g (50%)Polyunsaturated Fat 20gMonounsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 103mg (34%)Sodium 24448mg (1019%)Potassium 137mg (4%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 7g (8%)Vitamin A 6550IU (131%)Vitamin C 258.2mg (313%)Calcium 60mg (6%)Iron 3.4mg (19%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. Patty M. says

    Stumbled on your site looking for roasted red pepper coulis and love the idea of coconut milk instead of cream. The curry and ginger ingredients also intrigued me. When it calls for shallot are you using the purplish bulb or green spring onions, they are confused interchangeable definitions in a lot of recipes I read. Thank you for the inspiration!!

  2. Mike says

    There are 0.0g sugar in scallops, therefore they do not caramelize. The browning is a result of the Maillard Reaction.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      The coulis should last about 2 days. I cover the opening of the squeeze bottle with some plastic wrap and then put the lid on.