Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Puree

Scallops can seem intimidating to cook at home if you’ve never worked with them before. It takes a little practice, but these small, flavorful seafood treats are surprising easy to prepare—and also quick! Next time you’re planning a seafood dinner at home, skip the fish and wow your guests with scallops instead.

This warm and colorful seafood dish is perfect for a cool, brisk day. The complementary spicy and sweet seasonings offer a unique flavor profile that really brings all elements of this recipe to life. Enjoy this fall-inspired meal by Chef Sean Huitt. 

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Seared Scallops with Butternut Squash Puree and Charred Arugula
By Sean Huitt


Butternut Squash Puree

  • 1 butternut squash
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • Sea salt, to taste


  • 8 jumbo scallops
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

Charred Arugula

  • 1 pound arugula
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Ground pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the butternut squash in half, deseed, and drizzle the squash with olive oil. Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until fork-tender. Scoop squash flesh into a bowl, add butter, agave, puree spices, and sea salt. Mash with a potato masher or puree with a food processor until smooth. Keep warm in the oven until serving. 

Combine all the scallop spices together in a small bowl and set aside. 

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, then dredge both sides of the scallops in the spice blend. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat, then add olive oil and butter. Sear scallops for 2 minutes on each side or until the top starts to crack, being careful not to overcook. Remove from heat and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes. 

While the scallops rest, heat a cast iron skillet over high heat, allowing the pan to smoke slightly. Add the extra virgin olive oil and arugula to the pan and sauté for less than 1 minute or until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to allow moisture to drain. 

Plate the pureed butternut squash, scallops, and charred arugula and enjoy!