scallops & peas in lemon-tarragon sauce

2 to 4    |   
Prep Time:
10 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
8 minutes

print this page
scallops peas

I don’t know why, but spring makes me crave the combo of peas and tarragon. Wait; that’s a lie. I do know why. It’s because I was trained at a cooking school with a very French outlook, even if it was in San Francisco and even if I am an Italophile. In school we made things like lettuce braised in butter with peas and tarragon, and salmon with tarragon beurre blanc. Very Julia Child and very magnifique. A few years ago I added scallops to peas and tarragon and lightened things up with canola oil. Then I modified it again with shrimp. Superb! So this weekend when I saw trim pods of English peas in the market, I knew it was time. But I can’t decide which version to make or which to offer you. Take your pick. Either way, it’s the fastest little sauté any pea-lover could ask for

photo courtesy of


12 sea scallops or large peeled, deveined shrimp (prawns)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 lb fresh peas, shelled, or 1 cup frozen peas (not thawed)
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, preferably Meyer
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Rinse scallops or shrimp, then pat dry with paper towels. If using scallops, peel off the opaque muscle or “foot” on each one if it is there.

In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter in canola oil over medium-high until foam subsides and oil starts to ripple. Add scallops and let cook until golden brown on one side then turn with tongs and let cook on the other side, about 3 minutes total. If using shrimp, stir them for one minute until they are just starting to turn pink. Transfer seafood to a plate and set aside.

Add shallot to pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in broth and let liquid come to a boil; stir in peas. Stir in lemon juice and tarragon. Return scallops or shrimp to pan and let liquid come to a boil again then reduce heat and simmer until scallops or shrimp are opaque through, 2 to 3 minutes. Divide scallops or shrimp among plates and top evenly with peas and sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.