Scallops in Champagne Cream Sauce

TIMEDecember 12, 2021

Fresh and frozen scallops are widely available and are a delightful indulgence, truly a treat. Look for dry-packed scallops, which are packed without extra liquid or chemical treatment.

Make sure the scallops are at room temperature and pat them dry before adding them to the pan. I calculate four or five sea scallops per person for a main course, or three scallops for a first course. Remove the tough adductor muscles before cooking, or ask your fishmonger to do so. This recipe also works with the small Nantucket bay scallops.

Note: If scaling down for two people, halve the number of scallops, but make the full batch of sauce and save the extra in the fridge.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large shallots, minced
  • 20 sea scallops (about 1 pound), cleaned and trimmed
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Champagne, preferably Brut (dry)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon

In a large non-stick sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until slightly soft. Pat dry the scallops and add them to the pan in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until cooked through and opaque. Using tongs, remove the scallops, leaving the shallots in the pan.

To the pan, add the Champagne and simmer until reduced to a couple of tablespoons. Add the cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice, bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring gently, to thicken the sauce, about three or four minutes. Return the scallops to the pan and heat through before serving.

Victoria de la Maza is an award-winning cookbook author, columnist, and international TV host. Passionate about great food, she combines American traditions with her European heritage to create classic-with-a-twist recipes and ideas for stylish entertaining at home. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter, "Diary of a Serial Hostess,” at