Pan-Seared Scallops with Cumin and Roasted Fennel Recipe

A seafood taste sensation that's also easy to prepare
A plate of pan-seared scallops next to seared fennel.
The cumin and fennel really add tremendous flavor to the scallops without overpowering them. Jon Whittle / Marlin

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The delicate flavor and texture of the ­scallop puts it at the top of the culinary bivalve ­leaderboard. The amount of cumin and ­butter might seem excessive, says SiriusXM’s Michael Mellett, but that’s key to the ­ridiculously good flavor. When paired with a fine but reasonable white burgundy, this dish is leveled-up completely.

Ingredients | Serves 4

  • 12 large scallops, prepared
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 8 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ sticks salted butter at room temperature
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove core and fronds from fennel, reserving some fronds for garnish. Cut the bulb into thin wedges, approximately ¼-inch thick, and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Place the fennel on a nonstick baking sheet, and roast for approximately 45 minutes until tender and golden brown.
  4. Pat the scallops dry, and season one side with salt, pepper and cumin.
  5. Add the oil to a preheated medium-hot pan, and sear the scallops on the unseasoned side for 2 minutes*, or until a deep, golden-­brown sear appears; add all of the butter to the pan, flip over the scallops, then set the pan in the oven for about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the cumin.

*Note: Cooking times will vary based on the size of the scallops and fennel bulbs.

Read Next: Check out our other great food and drink recipes here.

To Assemble

While the scallops are in the oven, arrange the roasted fennel neatly on one half of each plate, placing three scallops per serving on top of—or adjacent to—the fennel. Stir the cumin and butter sauce to combine, and spoon over the plate. Serve, garnished with fennel fronds and lemon zest, if desired.

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