Cook time: ~ 20 mins

Serves: 2-3 


Spice Oil

  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 black peppercorns, plus freshly ground for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of light oil (grapeseed, vegetable, etc.)
  • 1 lb of sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mixed cilantro and flat-leaf parsley with tender stems
  • Olive oil (for drizzling)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice


1. Grind first five ingredients to a fine powder in spice mill or pestle. Transfer to a small saucepan over medium-low heat; add oil. Cook until oil begins to simmer, 2-3 minutes. Strain into a small bowl (use cheesecloth if you want a perfectly smooth oil). Stir in garlic and lemon zest. Let cool for 5 minutes, then stir in 1 TBSP lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and more juice, if desired.

SAVE TIME: This oil can be made up to one week ahead. Just cover and store in the fridge, then rewarm before using.

2. Heat the light oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until oil begins to smoke. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Sear well until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn; cook until just barely opaque in center, about 30 seconds longer.

3. Meanwhile, place herbs in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide scallops between two or three plates, spoon 1 TBSP spice oil over each plate (reserve remaining oil for another use). Garnish with the greenery.