The secret to beautifully cooked scallops is a hot pan and dry scallops. We combine oil and butter in a very hot pan, making sure to pat scallops dry before seasoning them. Scallops require minimal cooking – overcook them and you’ve transformed these tender morsels into rubber pucks. We serve them with a small portion of potatoes, vibrant seasoned kale, and a drizzle of delicious lemon-cream sauce.

The frozen mashed potatoes are seasonal at Trader Joe’s. If they are out, just make your own with this easy recipe for Bacon and Chive Mashed Potatoes (bacon and chives optional, although perfect with scallops). 

This easy recipe is from our latest Trader Joe’s cookbook, “The 5 Ingredient Cookbook,” available everywhere books are sold. 

Seared Scallops with Mashed Potatoes and Wilted Kale


  • 1 (1-lb) bag scallops (about 15-18 medium size scallops), thawed if frozen
  • ½ (16-oz) bag Frozen Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 bag kale or baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ½ tsp black pepper, divided
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon (2 Tbsp lemon juice)


  1. Heat mashed potatoes according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Place kale in wide saucepan with 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper and add ½ cup water. Use tongs to toss in pan until kale is coated with oils and water. Cover pan and cook 3-5 minutes until kale is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Rinse scallops in cold water and pat dry. Season with remaining salt and pepper. In pan over high heat, add remaining 1 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter. When pan is very hot, add scallops and make sure they are not touching each other. Sear scallops 90 seconds first side, flip, and cook 60 seconds on other side or until scallops are opaque. Do not overcook.
  4. Remove scallops from pan. Remove pan from heat and immediately add cream and lemon to the browned butter in pan, stirring for 2 minutes until hot and slightly thickened. Residual heat from the hot pan should be enough to heat and thicken sauce.
  5. Divide mashed potatoes among 4 plates. Top with kale, drizzle with cream sauce, and divide scallops. Serve immediately.