Mexican Seared Scallop Salad with Caramelized Avocados

Downtime at work.

It may be a rarity, but everyone has it. Sometimes. If you say you don’t, you are a dirty dirty liar and your nose is going to grow.

Some people chat with coworkers during their down time. Others surf the net.

Me? I watch cooking videos.

Yeah, I know. I’m super cool.

I also look at funny cat pictures and videos...

But that’s a whole other story.

Yes, I go on the internet and I watch people cook. And then I either get inspired by what they made and make something inspired by them, or I just flat out copy them as is the case with this dish.

It could have been the women’s accent, but she made this dish look so good and it sounded just crazy enough to be delicious. Shocking, it was.

You will need…

For the Marinade
1 1/2 tablespoons achiote paste*, crumbled or 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (achiote paste can be found in Latin markets. Look for a brand with no MSG or artificial additives.)

1 orange, juiced

2 limes, juiced

1 medium garlic clove, peeled and minced
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Caramelized Avocados
Extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing pan
2 Hass avocados, halved, pitted and flesh cut into quarters
2 tablespoons sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 cups mixed baby lettuces (spring mix)
1 red grapefruit, peeled and segmented

12 large sea scallops (Trader Joe’s has great frozen ones)

To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade in a small bowl.

Add the scallops to the bowl with the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the scallops for up to 30 minutes.

Heat a large, heavy sauté pan over medium high heat.

Remove the scallops from the marinade and add them directly into the hot pan. Because they have been marinated in olive oil, they will not stick.

Discard the marinade the scallops were in.

Cook until golden on 1 side, about 2 minutes, depending on the size.

Turn them over and brown on the other side, another 2 minutes. Drain the scallops on paper towels and set aside to cool slightly.

To coat the avocados, coat the bottom of a small, nonstick skillet over medium heat, with extra-virgin olive oil.

Sprinkle 1 side of the avocado slices with sugar, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Add them to the skillet and cook until the sugar is caramelized and golden, about 2 minutes. Turn gently and cook for another 30 seconds.

Remove to a plate and set aside.

To assemble the salad, put the baby lettuces in a bowl with half of the grapefruit segments. Add the reserved 1/4 cup of marinade and toss until coated.

Put the dressed lettuces on a serving platter. Top with the caramelized avocados, remaining grapefruit segments, and scallops. Serve additional vinaigrette on the side.

What videos do you watch in YOUR down time?

If it’s dirty, I don’t want to know.

Love and Beer Floats