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Discover culinary perfection on the grill with my Grilled Scallops and Corn Salad recipe. Featuring succulent, char-kissed sea scallops paired with a fresh corn and avocado salad, all drizzled with a silky honey-lime dressing. Each bite promises a symphony of delicious summer flavors!

“Just made these tonight and they were a HIT! I will be adding this to my regular rotation!”

– JOY
Overhead photo of six grilled scallops with corn salad on a white plate.

Update: This recipe was originally published in August 2016. I’ve made updates to the post below to include more information about grilling sea scallops at home.

Hi, friends! How was your weekend? I hope it was glorious and filled with lots of laughter, relaxation and fantastic food!

Since it’s still hotter than a firecracker on the fourth of July and Labor day is right around the corner, I figured today was as good a time as any to share my favorite summer scallop recipe. So, get ready to hit print and fire up the grill, because today’s dish isn’t one you want to miss.

About this corn scallop recipe

You guys, I’m not joking when I say that I have made (and devoured) these scallops seven times (possibly 9 or 10, but who’s counting) in the last three weeks. I am beyond obsessed. Seriously, if I could wax poetic I would be writing all the eloquent sonnets and haikus about this insanely delicious dish.

First of all – scallops! But, not those teeny, tiny bay scallops. Big, beautiful U-10 scallops! They are my spirit animal. Tender, juicy, succulent, jumbo scallops with a bit of smoky char from the grill. Ugh – SO GOOD.

Second – salsa or salad, depending upon what you want to call it. Juicy scallops just beg for a bright, fresh salsa to accompany them, and this salsa has it all! It’s a bright mix of creamy avocado, pops of sweet grilled corn, hints of spicy jalapeno, bites of pungent red onion and specks of herbaceous cilantro. Honestly, this salsa is the stuff dreams are made of.

Last, but oh my goodness, certainly not least – a honey lime vinaigrette. A sultry, silky dressing that’s tart, luscious, sweet and perfectly smooth. I may have bathed in this stuff it’s so darn good!

This dish is just nirvana! Juicy, tender grilled scallops on a bed of creamy corn salad with avocado, red onion, cilantro, and a generous drizzle of honey lime vinaigrette. You absolutely need to get these grilled scallops in your life! Even my persnickety other half who despises scallops gave this dish two raving thumbs up. And, if that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does.

Looking for more seafood recipes to throw on the grill? Try these flavorful fan-favorites next: Grilled Shrimp Salad and Grilled Salmon on a Cedar Plank.

Overhead photo of the ingredients in scallops corn recipe.

Ingredients for grilling scallops

  • Scallops: For the best sweet, delicate flavor, look for scallops that are dry-packed and not soaked in preservatives or liquids. They should be labeled as “dry” or “diver” scallops for best quality. Be sure the scallops are firm to the touch, slightly translucent in color, and have a sweet aroma that smells like the ocean.
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper: You’ll need kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to enhance the natural flavor of the sea scallops.
  • Oil: You’ll need a neutral, high-heat oil such as vegetable or canola oil for cleaning the grates of your grill and grilling the sea scallops.

For the corn salad

  • Avocado: Ripe avocados lend a creamy, buttery richness to the corn avocado mixture. Select avocados that yield every-so-slightly when you apply gentle pressure with your finger tips. Also, be sure they’re dark green in color and blemish free.
  • Corn: For natural sweetness and delicious crunch. If fresh corn on the cob is in season, I’ll throw that on the grill and use it instead of the canned stuff. But, use what you love.
  • Onion: Red onion lends a mild sharpness and beautiful hue to the salad.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: For juicy, sweet flavor and a touch of acidity. But, you can swap in grape tomatoes if you prefer.
  • Cilantro: Citrusy fresh cilantro is a classic ingredient in corn salad. Be sure to rinse and dry the cilantro leaves before using.
  • Jalapeno: One jalapeno pepper adds spicy heat to this summer scallops recipe. If you prefer a mild salad, be sure to remove both the sees and the ribs from the jalapeños.
  • Lime: Fresh lime juice adds acidity and brightness. Be sure to purchase limes and squeeze the juice yourself for the best flavor. Sub: Swap in lemon juice in a pinch.

And for the dressing

  • Olive Oil: Select a high-quality brand of extra virgin olive oil for the richest flavor.
  • Honey: A touch of honey balances out the tart flavors.
  • Dijon Mustard: A hint of dijon helps emulsify the dressing and provides a lovely tangy flavor.
  • Seasonings: A combination of garlic powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, and black pepper provide a depth of flavor and enhance the overall flavors

Recipe variations

  • Tropical Twist: Swap out the corn and avocado salad for a tropical mango salad, spicy mango salsa, or pineapple salsa instead.
  • Asian Fusion: Replace the honey lime dressing and use an Asian sesame ginger dressing instead. Then add edamame beans and sliced radishes to the corn salad.
  • Spicy Kick: Add a sprinkle of chipotle chili powder and pickled jalapeno chili peppers to the corn salad.
Overhead photo of all the ingredients for corn avocado salad in a mixing bowl.

How to cook scallops on the grill

Scallops are one of my absolute favorite things to throw on the grill during summer. They are incredibly fast and super easy to prepare. And, when properly grilled, they are sweet, succulent, and absolutely delicious. Here’s how to make this summer scallops recipe:

  1. Prepare the Scallops for Grilling: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with clean paper towels. Next, arrange the scallops on top of the towels and place more paper towels on top. Use your hands to gently press on the towels to blot the scallops dry. Remove the wet top paper towels and replace with clean paper towels.
  2. Double Skewer Scallops: Thread 4 to 6 sea scallops onto one skewer, arranging the skewer so it is off to one side of the scallop’s center. Then, place a second skewer through the scallops, parallel to and about ¼-inch away from the first.
  3. Prepare the Grill: Prepare an outdoor grill for medium high heat cooking. Heat the grill until hot (425-degrees to 450-degrees), clean the cooking grates, and then brush the grates well with a paper towel that’s been dipped into oil.
  4. Season Scallops, Then Grill: Lightly brush the scallops all over with oil and then season on both sides generously with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and heaping ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Place the scallop skewers onto the oiled grill grates and grill uncovered and undisturbed until the bottom side develops dark grill marks, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the skewers over and continue to grill the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they’re just barely cooked through to an internal temperature of 145-degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Serve and Enjoy: Serve plump grilled sea scallops over avocado and corn mixture, drizzle with the honey-lime vinaigrette, and garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy immediately.

Expert tips for best success!

There are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when grilling scallops for this corn scallop recipe:

  • Purchase dry-pack scallops and opt for large (15 count per pound) or jumbo (u10) scallops. Smaller scallops are very easy to overcook and can turn rubbery quickly, while larger scallops are more forgiving on the grill.
  • Keep your scallops cold until ready to grill, and make sure you blot your scallops as dry as possible before grilling! To prevent them from sticking to the grill, make sure your grill grates are as clean as possible and wipe the grates with a neutral, high-smoke point oil, such as canola.
  • Use a brush to clean the grates of your grill prior to cooking scallops. This will ensure the scallops don’t pick up any flavors from food you have previously grilled. Use a paper towel soaked in a neutral oil with a high smoke point (canola, peanut, avocado or grapeseed) and brush the grill grates to keep the scallops from sticking.
  • Get the grill hot. You don’t want to overcook scallops, so you need a really hot grill! Scallops cook best fast over hot heat.
  • Pat scallops dry. Make sure you pat the outside of your scallops thoroughly dry prior to cooking on the grill.
  • Season right before grilling. Always season your scallops generously with salt and pepper just before grilling! Do not salt them too far in advance as the salt will draw out moisture.
  • Don’t peak. Grill the scallops without moving or flipping them until you have a nice char! Messing with them will prevent a good sear. It’s better to grill the scallops all the way through on the first side and let the second side barely cook on the grill.
Close-up photo of summer scallop recipe of grilled sea scallops with corn and avocado salad.

FAQs: frequently asked questions

You’ve got questions? I’ve got answers! If you have a question you don’t see listed below, please drop them in the comments section. I’m happy to help when I can! 

What is a scallop?

Scallops are a type of marine bivalve mollusk of the Pectinidae family – meaning, the interior muscle is surrounded by two shells. Scallops are semi-related to oysters, clams and mussels.

There are many varieties of scallops, but the two most common are sea scallops and bay scallops. Both varieties of scallops are delicate and tender when cooked with a sweet flavor and briny, salty taste.

  • The sea scallop is larger (as big as two inches), and primarily harvested in the Atlantic Ocean from Eastern Canada to North Carolina.  Sea scallops are available year-round.
  • The bay scallop is much smaller than sea scallops (about the size of a dime), and considered to be sweeter and more succulent. Bay scallops are typically harvested from the shallow waters of bays and estuaries along the East Coast of the United States. Sold fresh, bay scallops are a seasonal specialty, with a peak season during the fall and early winter.

How are scallops harvested?

Scallops are harvested either by trawling or diving. 

Trawling is done by scraping and dredging the ocean floor and pulling up the scallops with nets. Unfortunately, trawling can cause damage to the ocean floor.

Diving is a more environmentally friendly method, however it is much more labor intensive and expensive. Divers go down and harvest mature scallops by hand. These scallops are known as diver scallops.

How to buy scallops?

Shopping for scallops can be confusing. Below are a few tips to ensure you’re purchasing the best scallops from the grocery store, every time.

  • Know the sizes. You can buy both bay and sea scallops by the pound. The smaller the number, the bigger each scallop. The packaging of scallops is marked with the letter U (for “under”) and a number or range of numbers indicating how many scallops there are per pound. For example, “U-10” means you’re getting under 10 scallops per pound, while “U20” means there are under 20 scallops in a pound. Bay scallops are tiny, numbering upward of 100 per pound.
  • Shop with your eyes and nose. Fresh scallops should be pale pink or light beige in color and appear moist, but not milky. Avoid any scallops with a feathery white surface, this is a sign of freezer burn. And, avoid any with darkened edges, as it’s a sign of age. Scallops should smell like the ocean – somewhat briny, but not offensive or like iodine.
  • Make sure you are getting what you pay for – avoid fake scallops. All real scallops should vary slightly in size – they shouldn’t be perfectly cylindrical. Like all animals and humans, no two are exactly alike! Fake scallops are typically made of shark meat or cheaper pieces of fish. They will look identical and appear cookie-cutter in shape. They will also have a dense, solid appearance.

How to store fresh scallops?

It is best to cook this corn scallop recipe on the day you purchase the scallops if possible. If not, you can store them for up to two days in the refrigerator.

To store scallops, place them in a resealable bag and place the bag in a large bowl of ice (don’t let the scallops come in contact with the ice). Store the scallops in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

Are dry or wet scallops best for grilling?

Ask the fishmonger for “dry-pack” or “dry” scallops. Dry scallops are packaged without any additives. Both dry and wet scallops are shucked on the boat after being harvested; however, that’s where the similarities end. Dry scallops go directly into a container without any water or preservatives. The flavor of dry scallops is more pure and concentrated. On the other hand, wet scallops go directly into a container filled with a solution of chemical salts and water (sodium tripolyphosphate, or STP) to plump the scallops and keep them fresher for longer. Unfortunately, with wet scallops you are paying for the extra water and purchasing an inferior product. The wet soaking diminishes the scallop’s natural sweet, fresh taste, alters the texture of the meat and makes it hard to get a good sear.

Can I grill frozen scallops?

Don’t dismiss frozen scallops. If you live near the coast and have a great fresh seafood market, fresh scallops are the obvious choice. But, if you are inland and don’t have access to fresh, high-quality frozen scallops are a great option! If you’re using frozen scallops, be sure to thaw them prior. To thaw, place scallops in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to the fridge and thaw overnight.

How long to grill a scallop?

Scallops are extremely quick cooking! They take just around five to six minutes to cook on the grill — that’s it! Scallops are fully cooked when they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. If you do not have a reliable instant read thermometer, you can use your sight to tell when scallops are done cooking. Grill scallops until they are just opaque. Never overcook them as they can get tough and chewy very quickly.

Are grilled scallop recipes healthy?

Like other shellfish, scallops are incredibly nutritious and good for you! Scallops are a power food as they’re low in calories and fat, while being full of beneficial vitamins and minerals!

  • High levels of protein: Scallops are about 80 percent protein. A 3-ounce serving of has approximately 19.5 grams of protein.
  • Rich in fatty acids: They are a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. One serving has approximately 333 milligrams.
  • Excellent source of selenium: Scallops are rich in selenium, which promotes proper thyroid function and a healthy immune system.
  • Good source of vitamins and minerals: They are high in zinc, copper and vitamin B12, all of which aid in brain development. Plus, they are a good source of magnesium and potassium, which are both important for heart and brain health.
Action photo of a spoon drizzling honey lime sauce over a summer scallop recipe with corn.

Serving Corn and scallops

This scallops corn recipe is incredibly light and flavorful. This seafood dish is extremely versatile and pair well with a wide variety of sides – from simple salads and roasted potatoes to fruit salads or fruit cobblers.

Common Serving Suggestions:

  • Main Course: Serve these grilled scallops topped with avocado corn salsa and silky vinaigrette as the main dish.
  • Side Dish: Pair the scallops with a side of seasoned rice, like Mexican Cauliflower Rice or Coconut Rice, or quinoa to complement the flavors of the corn salsa and sweet sea scallops.
  • Salad or Slaw: Serve the sea scallops and salsa over a bed of mixed greens, coleslaw with jalapeños, or Mexican coleslaw as a refreshing salad option.
  • Tacos or Wraps: Use the scallops as a filling for soft tacos or lettuce wraps. Top with chipotle corn salsa or restaurant pico for bright freshness.
  • Appetizer: Serve smaller portions of scallops topped with salsa as an elegant appetizer for parties or gatherings.

Unique Serving Suggestions:

  • Scallop Sliders: Place grilled scallops with avocado corn salsa between small slider buns for a unique twist on seafood sliders.
  • Stuffed Avocado Halves: Hollow out halves of avocado and fill them with the salsa and grilled shellfish for a creative and nutritious dish.
  • Served in a Half Shell: Present the corn scallop recipe in cleaned scallop shells for a visually appealing presentation.
  • Grilled Scallop Skewers: Thread grilled scallops and marinated cherry tomatoes onto skewers and drizzle with the salsa or dressing as a finishing touch.
  • Served with Plantain Chips: Accompany the dish with crispy plantain chips for a delightful textural contrast and tropical flair.
Close-up photo of corn salad with a grilled scallop.

Storing leftovers

Storing leftovers of this summer scallops recipe properly is essential to maintaining the delicate texture and delicious flavor. Here’s how:

  • Store Separately. Store the grilled scallops, corn and avocado salad, and dressing in separate air tight containers for optimal freshness.
  • Cooling Down. Be sure to allow the grilled scallops to cool completely to room temperature before storing.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Arrange the scallops in a single layer in an airtight storage container or bag to prevent them from sticking together.
  • Use Within 1-2 Days: Refrigerate the leftover grilled scallops and consume them within 1-2 days for the best quality and safety. Unfortunately, seafood tends to spoil quickly, so it’s important not to leave them in the fridge for too long.
  • Reheating: When ready to eat, gently reheat the scallops in a skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil or butter. Alternatively, you can enjoy them cold in salads or sandwiches.
  • Freezing: If you’re looking for a longer term storage solution for this corn scallop recipe, you can always freeze scallops cooked on the grill. Place them into a freezer-safe storage container or airtight bag, ensuring they are tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn. You can typically store scallops in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Straight on photo of a grilled scallop on a bed of corn salad.

Whether you like or loathe seafood you are going to LOVE this grilled corn scallop recipe! Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s do this!

Cheyanne

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More scallop recipes!

If you love these scallops on the grill, try one of these delicious shellfish recipes next:

Overhead photo of corn scallop salad on a white serving plate.

Grilled Scallops and Corn Avocado Salad

5 from 8 votes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Discover culinary perfection on the grill with my Grilled Scallops and Corn Salad recipe. Featuring succulent, char-kissed sea scallops mingled with fresh corn salsa and with a silky honey-lime dressing, every bite promises a symphony of delicious summer flavors!

Equipment

  • 1 Outdoor Grill or Grill Pan
  • 2 Mixing Bowls (1 small; 1 medium)
  • 16 Skewers (SEE NOTES)

Ingredients 

Grilled Scallops

  • 2 pounds Large Sea Scallops – side muscle removed and discarded
  • 2 TBS Neutral Oil – vegetable oil or canola oil
  • to taste Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper

Corn Avocado Salsa

  • 1 large Hass Avocado – pitted, peeled & small dice
  • 1 (15-ounce) Can Corn Kernels – drained (SEE NOTES)
  • ¼ whole Red Onion – finely diced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno – seeded and finely diced
  • 1 TBS Cilantro Leaves – roughly chopped
  • 1 whole Lime – juice
  • One to Two Dashes Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – OPTIONAL

Honey Lime Dressing (yield about 2/3 cup)

Instructions

  • Make the Honey Lime Sauce: In a small mixing bowl, combine the lime juice, honey, dijon, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, and olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Use a whisk and stir the ingredients together until completely emulsified and combined. Taste the sauce and adjust the flavors as you see fit. Then, cover the sauce and place it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
    (Note: Make sure you whisk the dressing, then taste and adjust it again before using it!)
  • Make the salsa: In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the diced avocado, corn kernels, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with a scant ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch of black pepper. Use a fork or spoon to toss the ingredients together until well combined. Taste the salsa and adjust the flavors as needed to suit your personal taste. Then, set the salsa aside.
  • Prepare the Scallops for Grilling: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with clean paper towels. Next, arrange the scallops on top of the towels and place more paper towels on top. Use your hands to gently press on the towels to blot the scallops dry. Remove the wet top paper towels and replace with clean paper towels.
  • Double Skewer Scallops: Thread 4 to 6 sea scallops onto one skewer, arranging the skewer so it is off to one side of the scallop’s center. Then, place a second skewer through the scallops, parallel to and about ¼-inch away from the first.
  • Prepare the Grill: Prepare an outdoor grill for medium-high cooking. Heat the grill until hot (425-degrees to 450-degrees), clean the cooking grates, and then brush the grates well with a paper towel that’s been dipped into oil.
  • Season Scallops, Then Grill: Lightly brush the scallops all over with oil and then season on both sides with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and heaping ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
    Place the scallop skewers onto the oiled grill grates and grill uncovered and undisturbed until the bottom side develops dark grill marks, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the skewers over and continue to grill the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they’re just barely cooked through to an internal temperature of 145-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To Serve: Transfer the grilled scallops to a large serving platter. Scoop the avocado corn salsa all over the scallops and then drizzle everything with some of the honey lime sauce. Serve scallops with the remaining sauce and lime wedges on the side. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

  • Scallops: Please refer to the article for tips on purchasing scallops and tricks for perfectly grilled scallops!
  • If corn is in season, I prefer to use freshly grilled corn kernels instead of the canned stuff. You’ll need 2 ears of corn to replace the 15-ounce can. To Grill Corn: Place corn on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and corn is cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Remove corn from grill and let cool slightly. Slice kernels off cob and use to make the salsa. 
  • Storage: Scallops are best when enjoyed immediately after grilling. However, you can absolutely store leftovers! Keep everything in separate airtight containers for freshness. Store leftover scallops in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Dressing up to 5 days and Salsa up to 2 days in the fridge. 
  • Need to Scale the Recipe? Hover your mouse over the number of servings in the recipe card. You’ll see a sliding scale pop up, you can use that to scale the recipe up or down as needed.
  • Got questions? I’ve got answers! If you ever run into an issue, have a question, or need any clarification – please feel free to drop them in the comments section. I’m happy to help when I can! 
     
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and the nutrition facts are an estimate based upon 4 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.

Nutrition

Calories: 423kcal    Carbohydrates: 29g    Protein: 28g    Fat: 22g    Saturated Fat: 3g    Cholesterol: 54mg    Sodium: 1199mg    Potassium: 752mg    Fiber: 4g    Sugar: 14g    Vitamin A: 90IU    Vitamin C: 15.3mg    Calcium: 31mg    Iron: 1.5mg

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