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Spicy Grilled Scallops and Corn Avocado Salad

For the best Summer meal, this Spicy Grilled Scallops and Corn Avocado Salad is a true winner. This platter of scallops and summer produce is perfect for weeknights and entertaining. Spicy, buttery scallops and the sweet grilled corn, tomato, and avocado salad with lots of lime and cilantro are absolute perfection together.

grilled scallops with corn and avocado salad on white platter
Spicy Grilled Scallops with Ancho chile butter and sweet corn, avocado, and tomato salad.

Why you will love this grilled scallop recipe.

Summer is my favorite time of year. I love dining outdoors, entertaining family and friends, and just love watching Summer sunsets. Many of the recipes on my blog have grilling instructions because in Los Angeles we can grill outdoors almost all year around. This is one of the recipes I make on repeat for my family during the warmer months. And to make it that much better? Grilled Summer corn, summer tomatoes, avocados, scallions, lime juice, and plenty of cilantro. If you purchase frozen scallops, they defrost in under 30 minutes so this is perfect for weeknight dinners.

How to buy scallops

Scallops are accessible and a delicious seafood option to prepare. For starters, they are a healthy, low-fat protein option. Did you know that 3 1/2 ounces of sea scallops are only 127 calories with 27 grams of protein making this a pretty good protein choice. And fat content? About 1 gram. This is a fantastic protein source to enjoy completely guilt-free.

In addition, scallops come in different sizes making them again, a great option to add to pasta or for making ceviche.

What are scallops?

Scallops are a type of bivalve mollusk in the same family as Mussels, Oysters, and Octopus. The scallop itself is the meaty part of the scallop. The flavor is mild with a slightly sweet taste. The texture of the scallops is somewhat firm but fork-tender making them perfect for searing.

Types of sea scallops

The scallops I buy are dry scallops vs. wet scallops. More on this later. I find dry scallops are the easiest to grill or sear because no extra liquids have been added to them. So how do you know which scallops you are buying? Ask your grocery store’s fishmonger or clerk…they should be able to guide you.

What are dry scallops?

If you cook scallops, you will see that the recipe may ask for dry scallops. So what are dry scallops? They are free of water and sodium tripolyphosphate. So how does this make a difference? The scallops do not shrink when cooked; instead, you can savor the true, slightly sweet flavor of scallops.

What are wet scallops?

Typically scallops are soaked in sodium tripolyphosphate to increase water retention and weight. This is an industry-accepted process that is approved by the FDA. Oftentimes, the telltale sign of this is any liquid surrounding the scallops has a milky hue. Once you have tasted both, you will notice that this processing method does impact the flavor of the scallops. They are not as sweet as they normally would be. Another issue with the added water is that you will have a considerable amount of shrinkage when they are cooked as well as not achieving that beautiful sear or caramelization due to the water content. Can you still use them in this recipe? Absolutely!

What is the difference between Bay and Sea Scallops?

Now that we know the difference between dry and wet scallops, you will see Bay or Sea scallops in your grocery store. Typically Sea scallops are on the large side ranging in size between 1 to 3 inches in diameter. Bay scallops are smaller in size, sweeter, and found in waterways such as bays and shallow waters.

How to make Spicy scallops with corn and avocado salad.

This recipe comes together in about 30 minutes using the grill to cook corn and the scallops. Most of the preparation happens when you are grilling the corn for the recipe. The last step is to grill the scallops because they cook quite quickly.

spicy grilled scallops with corn and avocado salad

Ingredients for this recipe

  • 2-3 cobs of corn with the silk ends trimmed.
  • 12 ounces of small tomatoes (I use a combination of yellow and red tomatoes)
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, peeled and cubed or sliced.
  • 1 cup of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, washed, dried, trimmed, and thinly sliced
  • 3 limes, ripe (2 will be juiced and 1 for finishing dish)
  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pound of large or extra large dry scallops, fresh or defrosted thoroughly.
  • 2 teaspoons of Ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of Mexican oregano, crushed (optional)
  • pinch of Kosher salt, pinch of pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of melted, butter (if using salted butter, you may want to omit the pinch of salt)
  • EQUIPMENT
  • skewers
  • grill pan or outdoor grill
  • medium bowl for salad prep
  • tongs
  • platter for serving

How to make the Corn, Avocado, and Tomato salad

Preheat the outdoor grill to 400° Fahrenheit or grill pan.

Trim silk and rough husk ends from the corn. Place the corn with husks, on the grill. Rotate the corn every 5 minutes or so. Corn should be cooked through in about 20 minutes. The husks will be completely blackened and corn should be tender and with some grill marks throughout. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool.

While the corn is cooking on the grill, slice baby tomatoes in half or quarters and place them in a bowl. Peel avocado and remove pit, cube into large chunks, and add to bowl. Add thinly sliced scallions, and roughly chopped cilantro to the bowl.

The corn should be cool by now, remove husks from corn, and any excess silk. Once the corn cobs are clean, carefully slice corn from the cobs and place in the bowl with tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and scallions.

Add avocado oil, juice of two limes, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss gently, taste, and adjust avocado oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper if needed.

Place salad on a serving platter.

In a small bowl, melt butter. Once melted, add Ancho chile powder, garlic powder, pinch of crushed Oregano, pinch of pepper, and optional salt. Whisk together until fully combined.

How to prepare scallops

Remove the scallops from the wrapper and arrange on a plate. Using paper towels, pat dry thoroughly. Gently thread the scallops through skewers.

With a basting brush, baste scallops with chile butter mixture. Carefully, place on the preheated grill and allow to cook for about 3 minutes per side. Watch for flares to ensure the scallops don’t smoke. turn the skewers to cook another 2-3 minutes.

Once cooked, remove and baste with any leftover chile butter.

How to serve these Spicy scallops

Place Spicy scallops on top of the Corn, avocado, and tomato salad. Squeeze lime wedges onto scallops and salad and serve immediately.

This is a perfect one-and-done meal, however, if would want to add some starch to this meal, steamed white rice or Mexican red rice is perfect.

Enjoy!

Frequently asked questions

How long do cooked scallops keep in the refrigerator?

I recommend no more than 1 day in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Can I use canned or frozen corn instead of fresh?

Both can be used instead of fresh, however, I highly recommend grilling fresh corn for this recipe.

Can I use wet scallops for this recipe?

Yes! You just may not get the grill marks but you can absolutely use them.

I don’t like scallops, can I use another type of shellfish or fish for this recipe?

Shrimp is a good alternative, as well as salmon and cod.

close up view of spicy scallops corn avocado and tomato salad

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square image of spicy grilled scallops with corn, avocado, tomatoes

Spicy Grilled Scallops and Corn Avocado Salad

Ana P @ Claudia’s Table
October 3, 2023
Spicy, buttery scallops and the sweet grilled corn, tomato, and avocado salad with lots of lime and cilantro are perfect.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course BBQ, Dinner, Grilling, Lunch
Cuisine American, Californian
Servings 4
Calories 460 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Grill outdoor or indoor
  • 4 skewers
  • 1 medium bowl for salad prep
  • 1 tongs
  • 1 platter for serving

Ingredients
  

Corn Avocado Tomato Salad

  • 2-3 cobs corn on the cob, fresh silk and husk ends trimmed
  • 12 oz tomatoes cherry, pearl, or baby
  • 1-2 whole avocados peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, fresh chopped
  • 2 scallions trimmed and sliced
  • 3 whole limes, ripe juice of two limes, second lime cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons Avocado oil substitute olive or safflower oil
  • pinch salt kosher to taste
  • pinch pepper to taste

Spicy Scallops

  • 1 pound dry scallops, large, or extra large fresh or defrosted and patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 teaspoon Ancho chile powder or regular chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • pinch Oregano Mexican, crushed
  • pinch salt Kosher (optional if using salted butter)
  • pinch pepper ground

Instructions
 

Corn Avocado Tomato Salad

  • Preheat the outdoor grill to 400° Fahrenheit or grill pan.
  • Trim silk and rough husk ends from the corn. Place the corn with husks, on the grill. Rotate the corn every 5 minutes or so. Corn should be cooked through in about 20 minutes. The husks will be completely blackened and corn should be tender and with some grill marks throughout. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool.
  • While the corn is cooking on the grill, slice baby tomatoes in half or quarters and place them in a bowl. Peel avocado and remove pit, cube into large chunks, and add to bowl. Add thinly sliced scallions, and roughly chopped cilantro to the bowl.
  • Remove husks from corn, and any excess silk. Once the corn cobs are clean, slice corn from the cobs and place in the bowl with tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and scallions.
  • Add avocado oil, juice of two limes, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss gently, taste, and adjust avocado oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper if needed.
  • Place salad on a serving platter.

How to prepare Spicy scallops

  • In a small bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Once melted, add Ancho chile powder, garlic powder, pinch of crushed Oregano, pinch of pepper, and optional salt. Whisk together until fully combined.
  • Remove the scallops from the wrapper and arrange on a plate. Using paper towels, pat dry thoroughly. Gently thread the scallops through skewers.
  • With a basting brush, baste scallops with chile butter mixture. Carefully, place on the preheated grill and allow to cook for about 3 minutes per side. Watch for flares to ensure the scallops don't smoke. turn the skewers to cook another 2-3 minutes.
  • Once cooked, remove and baste with any leftover chile butter.

How to serve Spicy scallops with corn avocado salad.

  • Place Spicy scallops on top of the Corn, avocado, and tomato salad. Squeeze lime wedges onto scallops and salad and serve immediately.

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 4ouncesCalories: 460kcal

Nutritional information is calculated online and should be used as a guide.

Keyword corn avocado tomato salad, grilled corn salad, Grilled scallops, spicy scallops

All content and photographs ©Claudia’s Table and claudiastable.com

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