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An overhead shot of a white plate with a creamy sauce of corn, zucchini and pancetta on the bottom and two seared scallops on top.

Seared Scallops with Corn and Tarragon

  • Author: Emily Wilson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Cuisine: American


Seared scallops with corn and tarragon is an easy dish to make at home, while also being a delightfully celebratory summertime dish.


  • 68 large sea scallops
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cubed
  • 2 ears of corn kernels shaved from the cob, about 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine, crisp and clean variety
  • 3/4+1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced thin
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of Maldon salt, optional


  1. Set scallops on a plate of paper towel. Remove foot or side muscle.
  2. Set a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until fat is rendered and cubes are crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Stir often and lower heat if necessary. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. While pancetta cooks, prep the corn, zucchini and tarragon.
  4. Set the sauté pan back over medium heat and add the corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook about 2 minutes. Stir often.
  5. Add butter to the corn and melt, then sprinkle flour into the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously, then slowly pour in the wine. Mixture will become very thick. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cups of milk, then simmer until sauce is thickened.
  6. Stir in the tarragon, zucchini and cooked pancetta. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then lower heat to very low while you sear the scallops.
  7. To cook the scallops, season with salt and pepper. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  8. Once oil is hot, add the scallops. To get a good sear, make sure you hear the oil sizzle aggressively. Cook until scallop has a golden brown crust, then flip and sear the second side. For scallops that are 1-2” thick, this should only take about 2-3 minutes per side. You want to retain a slightly translucent band around the center to indicate they are not cooked all the way through.
  9. As your scallops finish, check the sauce. If it’s too thick, stir in a little more milk. Scoop the sauce onto plates or shallow bowls. Arrange scallops on top, then finish with a few leftover leaves of tarragon and a sprinkle of Maldon or kosher salt.


For an entree portion, 3 or 4 large sea scallops per person is nice. If you want to serve this as an appetizer, 1 or 2 large scallops is perfect.

Keywords: How to cook scallops, easy scallop recipes, scallops, seared scallops, summer corn