Recipes Main Courses Seafood Scallops with Avocado Salsa

Scallops with Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Large scallops, either frozen or thawed, are increasingly easy to find at better fish stores and supermarkets. Look for natural “wild” scallops without additives or preservatives, which can impart an unpleasant chemical taste to the scallop’s sweet, delicate flesh. 


  • 2 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing 
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes 
  • 1/4 cup tequila 
  • 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped, plus 1 tsp. adobo sauce 
  • 1 tsp. light agave syrup 
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste 
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and diced 
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion 
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion  
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced 
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano chili, seeded and finely diced 
  • 3 Tbs. pumpkin seeds 
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 12 corn tortillas, each 6 inches in diameter  
  • 2 lb. sea scallops, side muscle removed 


To make the avocado salsa, in a small bowl, whisk together the 2 Tbs. olive oil, 3 Tbs. of the lime juice, 2 Tbs. of the tequila, the chipotles and adobo sauce, the agave syrup, the 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine the avocados, white onion, red onion, tomatoes, jalapeño, pumpkin seeds, cumin and cilantro. Pour the lime-tequila mixture over the top and gently stir to coat, being careful not to break up the avocado.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Using a biscuit cutter, cut the tortillas into 3-inch rounds and lightly brush the rounds with olive oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup olive oil, the remaining 2 Tbs. tequila, the lime zest and the remaining lime juice. Lightly season the scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Just before grilling, add the scallops to the bowl and toss briefly to coat. Transfer to a plate.

Grill the scallops directly over medium-high heat, turning once, until they are nicely grill-marked and completely cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Grill the tortillas, turning once, until the edges are crisp, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Spread the avocado salsa on the tortilla rounds and top each with a scallop. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).