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Seared Scallops with Spicy Aioli

If diver scallops are available from your fishmonger, use them for this recipe. As the name implies, these scallops are hand picked off the rocks by divers, a more ecologically friendly way of harvesting sea scallops.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, pounded to a paste
  • 3 to 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 1/4 tsp. toasted ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. toasted ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika
  • 2 bunches asparagus, tough ends trimmed, stems peeled
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 lb. large diver scallops


In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Whisking vigorously, add the 1 cup olive oil drop by drop until the mixture thickens, then drizzle in the oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified. Whisk in the garlic, 2 tsp. of the lemon juice, salt, coriander, cumin and paprika. If the aioli is too thick, whisk in a few drops of water. Cover the aioli with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

In a bowl, toss the asparagus with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, grill the asparagus, turning occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and toss with 1 to 2 tsp. lemon juice. Cover with aluminum foil.

Season the scallops lightly with salt and pepper. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. oil until just smoking. Add the scallops and cook, turning once, until golden brown and opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Arrange the scallops on the platter alongside the asparagus. Serve immediately with the aioli. Serves 4 to 6.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.