Love and Olive Oil

Seared Scallops with Basil Olive Oil Pistou

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Seared Scallops with Basil Olive Oil Pistou

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.

Seared Scallops with Basil Olive Oil Pistou

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)


All images and text © Lindsay Landis /

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).

Seared Scallops with Basil Olive Oil Pistou featuring Capay Valley Ranches Gourmet Olive Oil

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.

There may be affiliate links in this post. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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269 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Meyer lemon – lemons and dishes that use olive oil, seems like a great pairing! Your scallops are gorgeous!! Pinned! :) They are truly so elegant looking!

  2. mmmm basil or lemon would be great with fish!

  3. Nice to know that I’m not the only one who gets a spell check email from my Mom!

  4. i’d like to try the lime and cook something mexican with it!

  5. I would choose the basil and probably use it just for bread dipping!

  6. The Meyer Lemon to use with pasta and chicken – yum!

  7. Meyer lemon to lightly toss with roasted shrimp and pasta

  8. blood orange! so versatile and unique- I’m also intrigued by basil, but I figure I have a basil plant… and the orange might be fun WITH it :)

  9. I subscribe and have for a while! love the newsletter

  10. I tweeted!

  11. I’m gutted this competition is only open to those in the US. I must have the blood orange olive oil, I may have to try infusing my own! This scallop dish looks delicious and you’re so right; amazing produce deserves amazing treatment!

  12. I follow you both on facebook!

  13. CVR’s Arbequina olive oil. I’d like to try it in an olive oil cake or in a dressing. Love good olive oil.

  14. I subscribe via email!

  15. Meyer lemon – I think it would make a fantastic Meyer lemon pound or loaf cake!

  16. Lemon oil sounds like something I’d use every day. In fact, aside from the standard salads and vegetable preparations, I can imagine it being incredible in olive oil cake, too.

  17. I think they all sound like fun, but I think the basil is more practical. I would use it in pesto, over pasta, in vinaigrette, etc.

  18. I subscribe via email

  19. I like you both on FB

  20. Meyer lemon!

  21. The Meyer Lemon sounds amazing!  Actually they all do!

  22. I like  you on Facebook!

  23. love to try the blood orange

  24. email subscriber

  25. tweeted cjsorel

  26. I would LOVE the basil olive oil. I only just discovered the world of gourmet olive oils through a little shop not too far from our place (it’s called The Ancient Olive). We bought an Italian herb one and oh, it makes pizza, pasta, salad, everything absolutely amazing. I would love to put a basil olive oil on…everything, really. Although I adore scallops, so this recipe is up there!

  27. Like both Love & Olive Oil and Capay Valley Ranches on Facebook

  28. We like to keep different vegetables marinating in olive oil/herbs and spices for quick, easy grilling. I’d love the Blood Orange for asparagus and mushrooms or the Basil for zucchini and tomatoes. We also like lamb lollipops prepared the same way…I bet the Meyer Lemon would be delicious with lamb!

  29. Yum!  The basil oil sounds perfect for pasta dishes!

  30. Basil!! Although, the meyer lemon sounds good too…and the lime I’m not sure they’re is a bad choice there!

  31. I love meyer lemon anything, I bet the meyer lemon olive oil would be great!

  32. Blood Orange sounds lovely with basil. Having just come back from 3 weeks in Italy, the thought of it with fresh seafood id very enticing!

  33. I would love to try the basil in homemade pasta sauce!  Sounds delicious!

  34. Love scallops, love basil–great combo!

  35. Great Idea!

  36. I think the Basil sounds wonderful and I would love to try it with some pasta!

  37. I subscribe via email ;-)

  38. I’d try the blood orange first. So exotic!

  39. blood orange sounds amazing! I’d keep it simple and just dip it with some good quality baguette.

  40. I would love to try the elderberry in a vinaigrette dressing. 

  41. I am email subscribed. 

  42. I would def use all the oils  to make herbed finishing sauces for chicken and fish and probably the blood orange for a light vinegrette dressing with some orange segments and nuts atop a salad of micro greens.

  43. I am an email subscriber.

  44. Persian Lime!

  45. I would LOVE to try the Meyer lemon olive oil (wow!) and I think it would be amazing on pasta with capers and pancetta.

  46. I’ve never seen blood orange olive oil. I would really love to try that flavor.

  47. The meyer lemon! I would make risotto or a pasta primavera with it!

  48. I receive your emails!

  49. I would use the Blood Orange Olive oil. Sauté 1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper, 1/2 tsp. of dry oregano for 3 minutes in 1/8 cup of olive oil. Add 1 clove of finely diced garlic and continue to sauté on low for 2 -3 minutes. Add pork chops, sauté till browned on each side, add 1/4 cup of dry white wine, cover and cook on low. Check often, add water or vegetable broth if needed in small amounts. Meanwhile in a smaller pan place 1/4 cup of good dry white wine and 1/2 cup of vinegar and boil down to 2 tablespoons and set aside. Once pork chops are done, add 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the vinegar/wine pan and cook down to 1/4 cup of sauce. Add 1/2 tsp.. of dry oregano. Plate the meat and serve sauce on the top of each chop.

  50. Meyer lemon sounds delish!

  51. I already subscribe

  52. I’d like to try the  blood orange, drizzled on gazpacho

  53. Already like and follow you on Facebook and Twitter. Lol.

  54. I would love to try all three but the Persian lime seems the most intriguing

  55. OF COURSE I would like to have the lemon one! I would totally use it for, well, everything. :)

  56. Basil and I would try it in bruschetta first!

  57. I tweeted!


  58. I’d love to try the basil and I’d use it first on homemade pizza

  59. I’m a subscriber

  60. Oh man this dish looks simply delicious. Don’t tell my mom but she made scallops ONCE for us and it was awful! I’ve been scared to try them again since lol.

    I’d totally try the meyer lemon or blood orange oil. Maybe poach some type of seafood in it, create a dressing, or just dip bread in it because I’m obsessed with ALL carbs ;)

  61. Oh and I sent out a tweet ;)

  62. I would love to try the basil olive oil.

  63. They all sound yummy but probably the basil

  64. I follow you on twitter and tweeted 

  65. I receive your emails

  66. Lime, I think that would go well with my mexican dishes

  67. I’m totally in love with your dish.  Love scallops!  :)  And I’m most excited to try the Meyer Lemon CVR oil.  I think it’ll be wonderful to drizzle on shrimp scampi.  ;)

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  68. Subscribed to Love & Olive Oil via email

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  69. I subscribe to your email

  70. Following @loveandoliveoil on twitter and tweeted:

     amy [at] utry [dot] it

  71. Basil would be divine on some fresh tomatoes! Yum

  72. I would love the try the basil flavor and would definitely use it in a pesto. I’d use the meyer lemon for a salad dressing!

  73. Like both Love & Olive Oil and Capay Valley Ranches on Facebook (@Amy Tong)

     amy [at] utry [dot] it

  74. Follow you both on Facebook as Sandy Headtke

  75. I subscribe via email

  76. I follow on Twitter

  77. I tweeted (@takeabiteblog)

  78. I would totally love to try the lime oil…that sounds fantastic!

  79. I follow your blog!

  80. Wow, blood orange sounds amazing. I have a kale/blood orange salad recipe with shallots that would be amazing with a blood orange olive oil vinaigrette. 

  81. I would also love to try the lime, I am a lover of lime and would like to try with

    any number of seafood dishes.

  82. I would choose the lime to drizzle on toasted baguette slices before adding mashed avocado (with sea salt, lime, garlic and ancho chili powder mixed in, and a sprinkling of paprika on top.) It would also be good with any Mexican-style dish (I live in Arizona so that’s an important part of our cuisine.)

    Thanks for a chance at the giveaway!

  83. I already subscribe to your email updates.

  84. Meyer Lemon for salad dressings!

  85. I would definitely use the basil flavor to make pesto and to finish my pasta dishes!

  86. meyer lemon!!  i have just discovered salads in a mason jar and would make all kinds of yummy dressings!! i would also use it with fish and chicken, it sounds delicious!

  87. i am subscribed with this e-mail address

  88. I would love to try the blood orange.  It sounds so appealing.  I am someone who doesn’t try new things very often but this sounds like it would be really great to mix it up in a salad dressing or even just on a piece of salmon.  Thanks in advance for the opportunity to win.

  89. i twirted about it, my username is yooangel, and i was already following you

  90. i like both things on the facebook, my name is crasian ruvrife

  91. I think I’d like most to try the Arbequina, to use on salads.  I keep hoping I’ll find another olive oil that is as wonderful as the stuff I got at Qumran in Israel…

  92. I already subscribe to your blog by email.

  93. I’d like to try the blood orange olive oil maybe on a salad of sorts.

  94. I subscribe to you blog by email and enjoy your posts.

  95. I’m a fan of both on Facebook.

  96. The blood orange – fell in love with blood oranges when we visited Sicily this spring!

  97. I already subscribe to your e-mail,follow and tweeted,
    I just entered to win a gourmet olive oil gift set from Capay Valley Ranches and @loveandoliveoil:@sal222s
    I would use the meyer lemon oil to broil my lobster,and shrimp,and
    make some pasta.Blood orange oil I would try in some cakes and breads,and top chicken.Basil with my pesto and I have no idea about the other oil 
    Commented on FB@Sally Ann

  98. I think the Meyer Lemon one would be most versatile for me.  We eat a lot of chicken and seafood, but I would use in salads also and even on pasta!

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