Scallop week returns to Lily’s Dayton: Chef offers tips for cooking at home

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Lily’s Dayton owner Emily Mendenhall and her executive chef Don Warfe are celebrating one of their favorite ingredients — scallops — this week.

The restaurant, located at 329 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s Oregon District, will feature a variety of scallop specials alongside its full dinner menu Wednesday, Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 3.

Mendenhall said they are offering much more than seared scallops for their third year of hosting Scallop Week.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

“While pan seared scallops are amazing, they’re also lovely in a ceviche or baked,” Mendenhall said. “This year’s menu sees the return of some favorites from previous years like the incredible pan seared scallop pancake that Don made for the first Scallop Week in 2021. It’s a fennel and orange savory pancake with pancetta lardons, seared scallops, and whipped Chile-maple compound butter and is hands down one of the best scallop dishes I have ever had!”

Two other dishes to try this week include:

  • Scallop Ceviche on the Half Shell (a chilled scallop ceviche, pickled watermelon radish, heirloom tomato, avocado, cilantro and chives served with a side of plantain chips)
  • Panko Scallop Fritters tossed in miso lemon ginger togarashi butter

Warfe said scallops are one of his favorite things to cook, but searing them is a process of steps.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

“When done correctly and with the right amount of heart, the final result is an incredible combination of caramelization, buttery, seafood-y goodness,” Warfe said.

Here’s how he cooks scallops:

  1. Pull the scallops out of the refrigerator and set them on a paper towel for a few minutes to take some of the chill off. Pat dry on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat skillet to medium high heat and add oil just to smoke point (preferably a higher smoke point oil like canola or avocado oil). Gently add seasoned scallops to sauté pan and displace the oil by gently rocking the pan.
  3. Let the scallops cook long enough before you try to turn them over. Cook to release. If you have to pull on them, they need a minute longer. Don’t forget to watch the temperature, the heat may need to be turned down. The scallops should be a golden brown.
  4. Cook both sides. Side two probably won’t take as long.
  5. Take the scallops out and let them sit on a plate for a minute or two before serving. Like most things, we want them to rest after cooking them.

Warfe said if the scallops are rubbery, that means they are overcooked.

Lily’s scallop menu will be served mostly as small plates for customers to share. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are encouraged by calling 937-723-7637 or visiting

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