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Smoky Sea Scallops with Avocado-Corn Salsa

Smoky Sea Scallops with Avocado-Corn Salsa
Scallops are available year-round, but the supply is more plentiful in the summer, when the corn for the hot-weather salsa that accompanies them here is also abundant. Chipotle chilies, which are smoked dried jalapeños, are commonly available packed in cans in a vinegary chili sauce called adobo. They will add a pleasantly piquant and smoky accent to summertime's plump grilled scallops.

Ingredients:

For the avocado-corn salsa:

  • 2 ears of corn, grilled
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Salt, to taste

  • 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, mashed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange or lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 lb. sea scallops, side muscle removed
  • Vegetable oil for brushing
  • 3 cups plum, peach or cherry wood chips, soaked if using charcoal

Directions:

To make the avocado-corn salsa, steady the stalk end of 1 ear of corn on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut down along the cob to strip off the kernels, rotating the cob a quarter turn with each cut. Alternatively, remove the kernels with a kernel cutter. Put the corn kernels in a bowl and repeat with the second ear. Add the avocados, onion, tomato, jalapeño chili, garlic and cilantro to the bowl and toss to mix. Add the lime juice, stir well and season with salt. Cover lightly and refrigerate until ready to serve; the salsa can be made several hours in advance. Stir again just before serving.

In a bowl, stir together the chipotle chilies, cilantro, orange juice, cumin, garlic powder and salt.

Brush the scallops on both sides with the oil and then rub with the chipotle mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Oil the grill rack or a fish- or vegetable-grilling basket.

For a charcoal grill: Sprinkle the wood chips on the coals. Arrange the scallops on the rack or in the basket over the hottest part of the fire. Cook the scallops, turning once, until they are opaque throughout but still moist in the center when tested with a knife, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

For a gas grill: Put the wood chips in a smoker box or perforated foil packet. Arrange the scallops on the rack or in the basket directly over the heat elements. Cover the grill and cook the scallops, turning once, until they are opaque throughout but still moist in the center when tested with a knife, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Divide the scallops evenly among warmed individual plates and place a spoonful of the salsa alongside. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Grilling, by Denis Kelly, Melanie Barnard, Barbara Grunes & Michael McLaughlin (Oxmoor House, 2003).