Let’s jump right into summer with a plate full of colorful goodness. Sea Scallops with Corn & Avocado Salsa.
This recipe just screams for a trip to the farmer’s market to pick up the freshest produce you can find.
The basis for this recipe came from Williams Sonoma’s new cookbook Healthy Dish of the Day. I did a little adapting from grilling in the original recipe to sautéing not only to benefit the grill-less among us but also because tender scallops are very easily over cooked on the grill.
If you’re not a fan of scallops, you can always substitute shrimp. Even if you’re not a seafood eater, this corn & avocado salsa could happily accompany grilled chicken or even stand on its own with a few blue corn chips.
Options, we’ve got them.
There is a bit of chopping but not much actual cooking so this shoots to the top of the Quick & Easy Recipe List!
Here’s what you need:
Sea Scallops, Corn, Jalapeño, Shallot, Garlic, Avocado, Tomato, Limes, Cilantro, Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, Ground Cumin (not pictured), Olive Oil (not pictured), Salt & Pepper.
For 2 servings, the recipe called for 1 pound of scallops but usually I just take a look at the size of scallops available, decide what would be a good serving per person (8 scallops?), and buy the amount I need.
I prefer sea scallops that are between 1-2 inches across to those tiny little eraser-like bay scallops.
Take a look at your scallops and if you see that little extra whitish flap on the side, pull it off. That is the muscle that attached the scallop to its shell. It can get bizarrely rubbery when cooked so you want to remove it. Some stores do a really good job of cleaning their scallops before you buy them so you might not have to deal with that step.
To give the scallops a nice smoky, zingy flavor, we will make a quick marinade.
Finely chop ¾ cup of fresh cilantro and scoot 1/4 of it to the side to reserve for the salsa.
Squeeze the juice from 2-3 limes to equal 1/4 cup.
Take one chipotle out of the can of adobo sauce, cut it open, and scrape out the seeds.
For me, one chipotle is plenty for this dish. Even if you like things spicy, I would add hot sauce later rather than overpowering the delicate flavor of the scallops with too many smoky chipotles.
Once the seeds are removed, finely chop the chipotle.
Build your marinade in a medium bowl by combining ¼ cup of lime juice, ½ cup of chopped cilantro, the chopped seeded chipotle, and ½ teaspoon ground cumin.
Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and stir to combine.
Add your scallops to the bowl and stir gently. For the best flavor, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the marinade to do its thing.
Meanwhile, remove the kernels from 1 ear of corn.
Place the corn kernels in a dry pan and roast over medium heat until toasty and slightly golden in color. This takes about 5-8 minutes. The corn has a tendency to stick a bit so be sure you stir it frequently while roasting.
Finely chop 1 shallot. You can always substitute a bit of red onion if you don’t have a shallot on hand.
Finely chop 1 tomato. I like to gently squeeze the seeds out of the tomato halves before chopping.
Remove the seeds and white membranes from 1 jalapeño and finely chop. I opted for only using 1/2 of the jalapeño but if you like things spicy, go for it and put the whole pepper in.
Place your chopped tomato, jalapeño, and shallots in a bowl. Add the reserved 1/4 cup of cilantro and 1 clove of finely chopped garlic.
Add 1½ Tablespoons of fresh lime juice.
Once the corn has roasted, allow it to cool slightly then add it to the bowl.
Season the salsa with salt & pepper and set aside.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the scallops from the marinade and place them in the hot pan.
Cook the scallops quickly to a golden brown, only about 2-3 minutes per side.
Remove the browned scallops from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining marinade to the pan, and quickly bring to a boil. Reduce the marinade to a syrup-like sauce.
When you are ready to serve, remove the pit from a ripe avocado and use a small sharp knife cut the flesh into cubes.
Run a large spoon around the edge between the flesh and the peel of the avocado to remove your little cubes from the skin.
Gently fold the avocado into the salsa
To serve, place a large scoop of the Corn & Avocado Salsa in a bowl or plate. Top with the golden sautéed scallops and drizzle with the smoky pan sauce.
It’s nice to be able to jump right into healthy eating but with foods that are also readily available at the store.
Although I cooked this just for us, Sea Scallops with Corn & Avocado Salsa would be a perfect dinner for guests. You can make the salsa (minus the avocado) in advance and cook the scallops at the last minute. No being chained to the stove now that nice weather is here! You could also reduce the serving size and this would make a fabulous tapas, first course, or appetizer.
So fresh & SO good! Certainly a new favorite around here.
Here’s the recipe: