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. I love lemon scent, would try Meyer lemon with chicken salad.

  2. I would love the blood orange and/or the Meyer lemon oils for shrimp and scallop dishes and also salads.

  3. I am an email subscriber.

  4. I like both on FB. (Mary Lorenzen Budde)

  5. ooooh the basil! I love all things basil. A simple caprese salad would be delish!

  6. I want to try meyer lemon. I’m thinking bread and salad topping.

  7. The basil sounds yummy to use in Caprese salad!

  8. I subscribe to your newsletter

  9. Blood orange sounds good for salmon.

  10. I’d be excited to try the lime…seems like it would make a great dressing!

  11. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area so seafood is big here. I can’t wait to try your recipe and the Meyer lemon or blood orange flavors sound delicious!

  12. Basil sounds incredible! Would love it drizzled on fresh tomatoes.

  13. I think I’d like to use the Lime oil first. I’d use it on my lemon rice recipe with some chicken and mushroom sauce.

  14. Already an email subscriber.

  15. Follow on twitter and tweeted as @AlinaConn

  16. Follow Love and Olive Oil and Capay Valley Ranches on FB as alinapicazo

  17. I want the basil and lemon…PLEASE!

  18. The Lemon Meyer oil sounds like a winner to me! I would love to use it on any chicken dish.

  19. Lime. We could use it to toss with veggies in Mexican dishes we make!

  20. Am an email subscriber.

  21. Those scallops look so beautiful! I am most interested in trying the blood orange olive oil — I bet it would make a great salad dressing. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  22. Follow Love and Olive Oil on twitter and tweeted


  23. Follow both on FB as sean.conn.94

  24. I’d love to try the Basil oil on homemade pizza and pasta.

  25. I would absolutely try Meyer Lemon FIRST

  26. I follow on Twitter. @christyjs

  27. I follow both on facebook. cspr316

  28. I’m already subscribed to Love & Olive Oil via email.

  29. Definitely lime!!!!

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

  31. I would like to try the basil with a new chicken recipe I am working on.

  32. I make a lot of homemade pizzas from scratch. It would be awesome to try the basil olive oil (for making the tomato sauce and coating the dough)

  33. Already an email subscriber. Love receiving the emails

  34. Great recipe. Would love to make these scallops along with a linguine pasta dish…

  35. Basil – It would be a great addition to a pasta dish or simply drizzled over the last of the summer tomatoes!

  36. I’m already subscribed!

  37. I follow you both on FB! Michele West

  38. I would love to try the Meyer lemon on an arugula salad.

  39. I would love to try the basil olive oil!  I feel like I would use that on everything and anything!  It would add an extra yum to caprese salad!

  40. I subscribe to emails!

  41. I follow on Twitter and tweeted! motobean84

  42. The basil looks super interesting!

  43. I subscribe by email!

  44. I like both of you on Facebook!

  45. I am a subscriber, for a while now. :)

  46. I’d like to try the Meyer Lemon oil with oven roasted shrimp.

  47. I subscribe via email.

  48. Meyer lemon over Parmesan pasta sounds amazing! Thanks for the chance to win! 

  49. I’d love to try the meyer lemon one.

  50. I’m subscribed via email.

  51. I follow on Twitter and I tweeted – @jvarvarezis.

  52. I like both pages on Facebook – Juli Varvarezis.

  53. Meyer Lemon!  I think it would be fantastic on my favorite arugula salad!!

  54. Oh my word, I’d love to try the blood orange one!  I love orange flavor.  And it would be great in so many things but I think a dressing would be killer.

  55. I think I’d love the basil and the lemon.  Either one or a mix of both would be fabulous with seafood and pasta!

  56. I’m an email subscriber at fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail(dot)com

  57. twitter follower @suburbsanity.  Tweeted:

  58. Like both on fb as debbie kaye.

  59. I’d love to try the meyer lemon!

  60. I’m Persion so I would definately use the Persian lime!! We make this delicious food with bison meet, celery, lots of parsley and cilantro with persian limes and I’m sure the oil would add an extra oomf to that flavor!

  61. already suscribed for my email updates!

  62. @sondraldcosta is my twitter name!

  63. Facebook name is
    Sondra Leal Da Costa

  64. That looks delicious. I have always loved scallops! I would definitely try the Meyer lemon and I would make a garlic herb chicken risotto!

  65. I am subscribed by email! starlax0(AT)

  66. I follow you both on Facebook. Starla Bates is my username.

  67. I’m very intrigued by the Persian lime oil!

  68. Meyer lemon – it would delicious is hummus!

  69. I think the line one sticks out the most for something like shrimp tacos?

  70. I’m an email subscriber

  71. Your recipe sound delish and looks pretty me some scallops!
    Gracious me…all these infused olive oils sound so scrumptious..I would probably want to choose either the blood orange or the meyers lemon first..for blood orange olive oil recipe I have that is so good..and, the latter for my delish lobster rolls recipe..and, we just bagged some lobsters! Love the bugs! Thanks.

  72. I am a preexisting email subscriber.

  73. I follow you both on facebook.

  74. I would love to try the Blood Orange olive oil. I think it would add a nice finish to some baked chicken.

  75. I already subscribe – debra(dot)womack(at)gmail(dot)com

  76. I already follow both on FB as Debra Womack

  77. I’d love to try all of these flavors, but I think for my first foray into such delicacies I would prefer to start with the Basil. It would add a flavor that I adore to almost anything I cook! I’d try it with nearly everything.

  78. I would love the meyer lemon oil with a goat cheese, beet and spinach salad!

  79. I would love the lemon to use with chicken or pasta! It all looks great!

  80. The basil with some bocconcini, prosciutto, and lightly salted slices of heirloom tomatoes would be absolute happiness

  81. I would bake a fresh loaf of bread, a Focaccia dough but use the basil oil instead.

  82. Basil! I’d love to use that on grilled chicken and pair it with Bison Brewing’s honey basil beer.

  83. I would use the basil oil drizzled over tomatoes & basil from my garden.

  84. I subscribe to your posts by email.

  85. Following on Facebook. Celeste Brodnik

  86. Meyer lemon-I might try a lemon tart!

  87. I tweeted

  88. I subscribe to email

  89. I would love to try the Meyer lemon

  90. Beautifully presented. Quite elegant. How wonderful to have something so tasty have the added benefit of looking so inviting to eat. The recipe is reminding me how much I like scallops and how long it has been since I have had them. Thank you.

  91. I tweeted. Awesome giveaway.

  92. I would be most excited to try the blood orange olive oil because I adore that particular citrus and I never thought to try adding that zing to olive oil.

  93. Just tweeted.  I’ll be trying the blood orange over seafood and salad.

  94. I would get the blood orange and use it in baking.

  95. Blood orange for an awesome salad vinaigrette.  :)

  96. Already subscribed! 

  97. Already subscribe to newsletter

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