Seared Scallops with Mustard Aioli


Aioli is a sauce made by mixing extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and egg yolks until it is smooth and creamy, resembling mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise is lemon juice (or vinegar) egg yolks and vegetable oil. Although some restaurants may use these terms interchangeably, aioli and mayo are not the same thing.

The significant difference in aioli is the extra virgin olive oil and the addition of garlic. Think of aioli as mayonnaise with attitude. With that being said, I must tell you that this recipe starts with mayonnaise. I use an organic mayo made with extra-virgin olive oil, white vinegar, lemon juice and egg yolks. Now, all you have to do is add the garlic and  it becomes aioli.

The garnish is a French radish. This is a root vegetable related to the horseradish and turnip family. It has a crisp texture and a mild flavor and I just love the way it makes the plate pop. They should be stored in the refrigerator without their green leafy tops.

These scallops make a perfect first course, light lunch when served with a salad or as an entree if you are a bit more generous with the scallops and add a side dish or two. The Mustard Aioli is an excellent condiment for Grilled Fish Panino.


  • 12 large scallops
  • Olive oil for frying (Delicate)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed (start with that and see what your palate likes)
  • Juice from half of a  lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • French radish (garnish)

To prepare the aioli:

  • Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, (see note below) garlic and lemon juice together. Season with salt.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • To get a really good sear on the scallops, pat dry before seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown.
  • Turn each scallop over and cook the other side.
  • Serve hot with aioli. Garnish with a French radish.

Note*** I used the whole grain mustard  because that’s what I had in the pantry. You can use a plain dijon or any other type of mustard you prefer.

Easy salad dressing: Use equal parts aioli and white balsamic vinegar, mix together, season with salt and pepper. I use this dressing on chicken and turkey salads. It’s also great on grilled asparagus.

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Buona Pasqua!