lemon caper scallops with mushroom risotto

Pan-Seared Scallops with Mushroom Risotto (video)


If you love seafood, you’re going to love this incredible scallop recipe with mushroom risotto! I’m making jumbo, pan-seared scallops with a zesty lemon, caper and dill sauce. The scallops are extra juicy and delicious and perfect with my creamy mushroom risotto! The mushroom risotto is super easy to prepare and it makes this seafood recipe even more special. Enjoy this seafood dinner for a special occasion or holiday, just as Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve! Want to make this for a romantic dinner for two? Simple prepare half the recipe!

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Making the Mushroom Risotto

Before I get started with the scallops for this seafood dinner, I make my creamy and delicious mushroom risotto. Scallops cook very quickly and since the risotto takes longer to make, it’s a good idea to make it first. First, I sauté my mushrooms in butter until they’re softened and browned. My favorite mushrooms for risotto are chanterelles but they’re not always in season, so shitake mushrooms are my second choice. You can also use white or cremini mushrooms. Once I have my mushrooms ready, I set them aside and sauté the shallots in butter also. You don’t want to brown the shallots, just cook them for a  couple minutes until they’re soft.

  • Next, I add the rice and garlic and toast the rice for a couple minutes until the butter is absorbed before adding the white wine. The wine adds great acidity and balance to the risotto and the alcohol will reduce while the risotto cooks. If you don’t want to add wine, replace it with 1 cup vegetable broth and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice.
  • Next, I slowly start adding my hot vegetable broth, about ¼ cup at a time. I keep adding the broth slowly and whisking the risotto until the rice is cooked, about 22 minutes.
  • I usually wait to return the mushrooms into the risotto until it’s almost done. This way, the mushrooms keep their shape better!

creamy shitake mushroom risotto

Tips for the Perfect Risotto!

Risotto can seem like an intimidating rice dish to prepare but it’s actually quite easy to make. Plus, you’ll love the flavors of this mushroom risotto with the pan-seared scallops! Here are a few tips for making perfect risotto every time:

  • Toast the Arborio rice in the butter with the shallots and garlic before adding any liquids. Allowing the rice to absorb the butter and toast slightly will increase the flavor! I recommend using only Arborio rice, which is a traditional risotto rice, for best results.
  • Keep the broth simmering on the side and add it slowly. It’s important to have the broth hot since each time you add some into the risotto, it reduces the temperature. By having the broth warm, it will reduce the cooking time and your risotto will cook faster and more evenly.
  • Whisk the mushroom risotto constantly! Whisking the rice ensures that it cooks evenly and it gives the risotto a creamy texture without adding any dairy!
  • Keep the risotto warm! And serve it as soon as possible! Risotto will thicken and become more gummy as it stands so I recommend serving it asap!

pan-seared scallops in large frying pan with capers and dill

How to Make Pan-Seared Scallops

Once I have my mushroom risotto all done, it’s time to make those incredible lemon caper pan-seared scallops! Before I start cooking them, I first pat them dry with paper towels. It’s very important that the scallops are as dry as possible; this will allow you to get the best caramelization and color! I also season them lightly with salt. Next, I preheat my frying pan with oil until it’s very hot! This step is also important because the scallops should be cooked as quickly as possible. I like to use a stainless steel pan since it can be heated to much higher temperatures.

Once my pan is nice and hot, I add my scallops in a ring along the edge of my preheated pan. By cooking them on the outer edge, the scallops will all cook evenly. Cook jumbo scallops about 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side, until they’re caramelized and nicely browned. Don’t overcrowd the pan as this will cause the scallops to cook longer and unevenly. Once my scallops are done, I remove them onto a paper towel to absorb excess oil while I make my sauce.

  • Please note: I used extra-large, jumbo scallops for my recipe. If you are using smaller scallops, make sure to reduce the cooking time. For medium scallops, cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes maximum. For small scallops, cook about 1 minute per side.

close up of pan-seared scallops with capers and sauce

Easy Lemon Caper Sauce

To make this seafood dinner really shine, I love to make a simple lemon and caper sauce to go along with the pan-seared scallops. This zesty sauce helps break up the richness of the mushroom risotto, creating a well-balanced dish!

Once I have my scallops cooked, I simply melt a couple tablespoons of butter and add a few tablespoons of capers to the pan. I cook this mixture over medium heat, then add in a splash of white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. After cooking briefly, I add the fresh dill and parsley at the end before returning the scallops to the pan. Don’t forget to remove the pan from the heat so the scallops don’t continue cooking!

Serving the Dish

It’s important to work quickly and serve the dish as soon as you have the scallops ready. I recommend having your dinner plates ready to go and have your guests anticipating to eat shortly. This way, everyone can enjoy a hot meal!

Keep the mushroom risotto warm and ready to go while preparing the pan-seared scallops. Once the scallops are done, spoon some risotto onto each plate, then top with a 3 to 5 jumbo scallops and add a couple tablespoons of lemon caper sauce. Serve the scallops immediately! I don’t recommend reheating them as this will cause them to be overcooked and rubbery.

pan-seared scallops with capers served over mushroom risotto

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this special seafood recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • Butter-Poached Lobster Tails – another fancy and delicious seafood dinner with tender lobster served with simple risotto!
  • Salmon Coulibiac – this traditional Russian salmon puff pastry is filled with mushroom rice, eggs and salmon coated with lemon dill sauce!
  • Clams Linguine – enjoy a restaurant-quality dish at home with my easy clam recipe, served with linguine pasta!
  • Creamy Crab Pasta – another delicious pasta recipe with creamy and cheesy sauce and fresh crab!
  • Wild Sea Bass Dinner – buttery, flaky sea bass with garlicy spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms! Easy, 30-minute meal!

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Pan-Seared Scallops with Mushroom Risotto video recipe


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