Scallops Bruno

In 30 minutes, you can whip up restaurant-quality scallops in a buttery, lemon sauce.  Scallops Bruno makes a great appetizer and an elegant main course as well.

Skillet of Scallops Bruno - scallops sauteed in a lemony, butter and wine sauce

I’ve served the Scallops Bruno as part of a cocktail party menu alongside Mexican Picaditas, Fried Deviled Eggs, Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings, Shrimp Cocktail, and a Baked Brie With Honey And Pecans.

When I’m serving this dish as part of an elegant dinner, a Classic Wedge Salad, Oven Asparagus Risotto, Sweet And Tangy Green Bean Bundles, and Easy Creme Brulee make an impressive meal your guests won’t soon forget.


This is a take on the iconic Shrimp Bruno appetizer at the Palm Restaurants.  I’ve swapped scallops for the shrimp, but the sauce remains the same – a buttery, wine, and lemon sauce that is irresistible.

Rumour has it that the dish was developed for a long-term patron of the Palm restaurant.  It became such a popular menu item that ShrimpBruno can be found at any Palm Restaurant around the country.

Skillet of Scallops Bruno - scallops sauteed in a lemony, butter and wine sauce


Sea scallops are harvested in the Atlantic from Canada to North Carolina.  You will also find sea scallops from Peru, Japan, and Russia.

The scallops are sorted by size, like shrimp.  20/30 size means that there will be 20-30 scallops in a pound and are about 1-1 ½-inches in diameter.  You’ll also find 40/50 scallops, all the way to U-5s (meaning only 5 scallops in a pound).  The larger the scallop, the more expensive the price.

Look for “dry” scallops when buying.  This means that the scallops have not been soaked in an STP (sodium tripolyphosphate) and water solution, which plumps them up and preserves them.  You don’t want to pay for the excess water and the scallops won’t sear as well after being soaked.  This means the scallops will steam rather than sear and the texture will be rubbery.

If you can’t find ‘dry’ scallops, be sure to dry them thoroughly with paper towels before searing them.

Fresh scallops should look moist and smell like seaweed or brine.  Bypass any scallops that have a white surface (freezer burn), dried-out edges (too old), or oozing a milky substance (also too old).  

If the scallops smell ‘fishy’ or like iodine, skip them.  Also, steer clear of scallops without any odor at all.  This means that they have been soaked in STP.

Skillet of Scallops Bruno - scallops sauteed in a lemony, butter and wine sauce


  • Butter, room temperature
  • Sea scallops
  • Flour, salt, and pepper
  • Garlic
  • Dry white wine (I used a buttery Chardonnay)
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard (I used Maille)
  • Fresh parsley


I love a recipe that looks elegant and difficult but is actually easy enough for any weeknight dinner.  To make Scallops Bruno you will need:

  • Melt butter in a skillet
  • Season the scallops and brown on both sides
  • Remove them from the skillet and add all of the sauce ingredients
  • Simmer the sauce till thick
  • Add the scallops back to the pan and turn in the sauce until hot
  • Serve


Scallops Bruno is a deceptively easy recipe that looks like you’ve spent all day in the kitchen.  It makes a delicious appetizer as well as an impressive dinner entree.

  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Starters - appetizer
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: American



2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 pound large sea scallops, small side muscle removed

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 large garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used Maille)

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foamy, but not browned.

Rinse the scallops under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Dump the flour onto a shallow plate.

Season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper and then roll in the flour.  Shake off the excess.

Add the scallops to the skillet in a single layer, without crowding the pan.  Work in batches, if necessary.

Cook the scallops, undisturbed until golden brown, for about 2 minutes.  Flip each scallop and cool the other side until golden and translucent in the center, about another 1-2 minutes.

Remove the scallops from the pan and keep warm.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

Pour in the white wine and lemon juice.

Bring to a boil and cook for one minute.

Whisk in the mustard and simmer the sauce until it is reduced by about half – 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter.  Whisk vigorously as it melts to bring the sauce together.  

Taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning.  If necessary, add more salt and pepper to taste.

Return to the heat.  Add the scallops back to the pan and turn in the sauce.  Allow the scallops to warm, while turning gently in the sauce – about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

Keywords: scallops bruno, scallop recipes, restaurant recipes, appetizers, seafood entrees, easy dinners, impressive dinner recipes