You may be wondering why I misspelled pesto. Thanks for feeling the need to kindly correct one of my regularly occurring typos (ahem, MOM), but in this case it’s unwarranted. Pesto and pistou are actually distinct things. Similar, yes, but not simply a misspelled version of another. Pistou is essentially a pared down pesto, looser in texture and purer in flavor, made with only basil, garlic, and olive oil. If pesto is pure Italian, pistou is its French cousin.
Scallops, as delicate as they are, require a light touch. Pesto, with its added nuts and cheese, would overpower the mild scallop flavor. We still felt basil would be a perfect companion to the scallops, especially during the summer season when basil everything seems to be the case. Pistou turned out to be just the ticket, supporting and enhancing the tender sweetness of the scallops instead of engulfing it.
In addition to the scallops and the basil, the olive oil is really the star here. That’s why I was so excited to be able to work with Capay Valley Ranches on this recipe, a California-based company specializing in premium olive oils made from California-grown olives. This isn’t olive oil that you’d fry your chicken in. No, cooking tends to break down the essential compounds that give a good quality olive oil its nuanced flavors. The good stuff is best used as the finishing touch in dishes where the quality can really shine through.
Like these scallops. Because, let’s be honest, if you’re going to blow your monthly allowance on jumbo sea scallops (at least here in landlocked Nashville, they are not cheap!) why would you ruin such beautiful specimens with mediocre olive oil? Trust me on this one. A recipe like this should be worth the splurge, and that means pulling out all the stops, including your best olive oil.
We made the pistou 4 ways, exploring the different infused oil flavors available from Capay Valley Ranches: basil, Meyer lemon, blood orange, and Persian lime. Each one transforms the dish into a unique masterpiece. You’d be hard pressed to believe they are the same dish.
The Basil amplifies the bright basil flavor and gorgeous green color of the sauce. It’s like double dose of basil, the basil-infused olive oil making the basil taste even more like basil, if that’s even possible.
Meyer Lemon is a perfect citrusy companion for the buttery scallops. Lemon and scallops are perhaps the most obvious pairing, but the candy-like sweetness of the Meyer lemon olive oil (as opposed to puckering acidity of fresh lemon juice) works wonderfully.
The Blood Orange brings a unique Mediterranean flair that is utterly delicious. I’m totally and undeniably infatuated with blood oranges, and this combination is no exception.
And the Persian Lime… well, I’ll let you imagine how amazing that combination would be.
Of course, you could always make the pistou with all extra virgin olive oil, and you definitely wouldn’t be disappointed. CVR’s Arbequina olive oil is bold and peppery and holds its own against the aromatic flavor of the basil.
Seared Scallops with Basil Olive Oil Pistou with Microgreens
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup Capay Valley Ranches Arbequina Olive Oil
- 1/3 cup Capay Valley Ranches Infused Olive Oil (Basil, Meyer Lemon, Lime, or Blood Orange), or more Arbequina.
- 8 large scallops, room temperature
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
- 1/2 cup microgreens (such as arugula or basil), for garnish (optional)
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
Leave a Comment below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #loveandoliveoil.
In addition to sharing this tempting scallop recipe, I’m excited to be able to give away a set of these amazing Capay Valley Ranches olive oils to a lucky L&OO reader! One winner will receive a gift set with 4 bottles of olive oil (including classic Arbequina, plus 3 flavors of your choice: basil, Meyer lemon, blood orange, or Persian lime).
For anyone else interested in these unique oils, Capay Valley Ranches is offering an exclusive 15% off coupon for L&OO readers! With their standard free shipping (on orders over $30), that’s a great deal if you’re looking to add some gourmet olive oils and vinegars to your pantry. Simply use coupon code L&OO15 upon checkout to receive your discount!
Sponsored by Capay Valley Ranches®. As always, all opinions written are purely my own.
I would love to experiment with some salad dressings with the blood orange!
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I’m most excited to try blood orange; I’d use it in a salad and maybe to cook a white fish.
Blood Orange. It would go well with so many different recipes I have in my mind. :)
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Tough choice! I would probably pick Meyer lemon.
I would try the blood orange first! It would make a wonderful addition to a veggie stir fry!
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The flavor I would most like to try is the basil.
I would love to try the meyer lemon.
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I’ve had the Arbequina elsewhere and have loved it and that’s the one I’d be most excited to try in pasta salad.
The arbequina sounds like something I would use, when the tast of the olive oil really matter — dipping and drizzling.
But the lime sounds interesting, too …
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My first choice is the Persian Lime. I can imagine using it on all the delicious fish and lobster my brother catches in the Florida Keys for us.
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I would love to try the blood orange in a cake. Maybe add some pistachios.
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I’d like to try the basil olive oil in a salad dressing, on caprese salad and on pasta.
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I would love to try the Blood Orange oil for salads!
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I’d like to try the Meyer lemon oil drizzled over vegetables or as a salad dressing
I LOVE this recipe. I’ll blown my allowance on sea scallops any day, if I can serve them with this pistou!
I would love to try the blood orange olive oil and I’d probably make olive oil ice cream out of it. Or serve some lavender ice cream with blood orange olive oil and a bit of sea salt (my best friend’s favorite).
I think the basil sounds amazing.
I’d love to try the basil!
Blood orange with Meyer lemon as a very close second!
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I bet the blood orange oil is the best thing….well…EVER! I’d love to try it!
The basil oil would be great for tossing with pasta or for homemade salad dressing!
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The Blood Orange Infused Olive Oil sounds divine, and at their website, CVR Ranches recommends using it in baked goods–imagine how delicious it would make a pound cake! Count me in for this one.
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The blood orange would be amazing as the base of a summer salad dressing!
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I think the Meyer lemon would be fantastic! It would be versatile I think for both cld preparations (like aioli) and hot like a prep for fish.
Such a hard decision! The lemon oil sounds amazing, but so does the basil…. I think I would pick lemon though… Perfect on fish and chicken!!
There’s a recipe I’ve been dying to try that I think either the Meyer Lemon or Basil versions would be perfect for. It’s Crab, Corn and Tomato Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing.
Basil! I’d love to add it to pasta.
This looks so damn delicious! I tend to give my scallops a much thicker and darker brown crust but I love the sound and look of your fresh pesto!! I love pesto!
Hah, I love that your mom proof-reads you! This looks so beautiful!
The basil seems like it would go with so many things! I’m curious about blood orange because I love the fruit, and I would just want to try it!
I would try the blood orange on some vanilla ice cream!
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One of my favorite comfort foods to make is a simple lemon pasta. I would love to try the Meyer lemon olive oil when making that! It would work wonderfully drizzled over the top I think.
I seriously want to try the Lime Olive Oil. I’d use it to make cookies first! Vegan shortbread cookies! (And I am subscribed to the newsletter)
i bet basil would make a great dressing or marinade
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