sea scallops with cranberry-balsamic pan sauce

fresh cranberries from whole foods

November has been a crazy month and it’s not even here yet! I just returned yesterday from LA and Nashville, next week I’ll be on assignment in Morocco and a week after that I’m in both Iowa and somewhere else (I’m shooting something secret but haven’t been informed yet as to where said shooting is actually taking place, hopefully somewhere warm). So, with all of this craziness in mind, I decided I’d better get my Thanksgiving menu planned now.

sea scallops with cranberry-balsamic pan sauce

I’m switching things up just a bit this year. Of course, I’m making some of my Thanksgiving table staples: roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and carrot soufflé. But I also want to add something with a bit of a twist this year instead of always the same ol’ thing. I stopped in at Whole Foods and picked up some of their sea scallops. They are HUGE scallops, just gorgeous. I’m very particular about my scallops – I only purchase “dry” scallops (this means they are pure – no water or phosphates are added which means the taste and texture are much better) and Whole Foods is one of very few places around to get them. The sauce I made to go with them is a simple pan sauce that only takes a few minutes to throw together once you’ve seared the scallops – simple, easy and elegant, a nice twist for Thanksgiving yet with some familiar flavors, too.

whole foods organic cranberry sauce

Some tips about this recipe:

  • Don’t add your scallops until your pan is very hot. You want a good sear on them and you won’t get that unless your pan is very hot.
  • Make sure scallops are patted dry before adding to hot skillet. Moisture will prevent a good sear.
  • Don’t crowd your pan; if necessary, sear the scallops in two batches.
  • Have all ingredients measured and ready to go as this recipe cooks quickly.
  • If sauce gets too thick, add a tablespoon of water until it reaches desired consistency (or more, if necessary).
  • You can also put the sauce over salmon or your Thanksgiving turkey (Whole Foods sells organic, free range and heritage turkeys).
  • Make sure butter is cold when adding at the end to finish the sauce.
I was compensated by Whole Foods Market to create this recipe using their fantastic products! I only work with brands and products that I love and all opinions are my own. Brought to you by Kitchen Play! Join us for an eventful party on Twitter this Nov 12th at 7pm EST, it’s going to be a blast!

sea scallops with cranberry-balsamic pan sauce


  1. Elizabeth @ says

    These scallops are gorgeous! I’m a wussy and am always intimidated to make scallops at home–although they seem easy, it also seems like they might be easy to mess up! This just might be the recipe that inspires me to try once and for all. :) Such a pleasure to cook along side you for Whole Foods.

  2. says

    Wow — I had never heard the term “dry scallops” before, but that’s really interesting (and totally the way I would purchase them too). I have to confess that I can’t enjoy scallops myself — but this is something I would LOVE to make for my family (who all love them). They look perfect with that golden top. mmm!

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