I make this salad as much for the oily joy on the plate as for the scallops themselves; as soon as you make it, you’ll get what I mean. The crunchy corn is a revelation, and if you skip it, you’ll be missing out!–Elena Silcock
Charred Corn and Scallop Salad FAQs
There are four notable differences between bay and sea scallops.
1. Size: The most noticeable difference between the two types of scallops is their size. Bay scallops are small, less than bite-sized, and sea scallops are larger, typically the size of a regular marshmallow or chicken nugget. The size of scallop you choose will greatly affect the cooking time. Bay scallops, being smaller, need much less time to cook.
2. Texture: Sea scallops are thicker, but bay scallops can be more tender.
3. Flavor: Some folks say that bay scallops tend to be sweeter, while sea scallops are saltier.
4. Use: Bay scallops are usually sautéed, more affordable, and used in everyday recipes. Sea scallops are often far more pricey and reserved for special occasions or “treat yourself” types of meals, like this one.
‘Nduja is a pork sausage made with spicy Calabrian peppers, herbs, and spices. The peppers give the sausage a lovely red color and a bit of heat. It originated in the Vibo Valentia province of Italy, and is becoming more prominent in restaurants and markets here in the US.
In a pinch, yes. Thaw your frozen corn and cook it in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until lightly charred.
Charred Corn and Scallop Salad with Lime Dressing
For the lime dressing
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 2 limes (about 2 tablespoons)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of granulated sugar, optional
For the salad
- 4 ears fresh corn , shucked and silk removed
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, divided
- 2 3/4 oz ’Nduja or sliced chorizo sausage
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Olive oil, if using chorizo
- 1 pound 2 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 pound 2 ounces raw sea scallops, patted dry
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup corn nuts, for topping
- 1 lime, for serving
Prepare the lime dressing
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and lime juice together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar, if desired.
Cook the corn
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Bring a wide saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the corn cobs and boil for 5 minutes, remove with tongs and pat dry with paper towel.
- Place the corn cobs on a rimmed baking sheet and smear with a little of the butter. Grill, turning frequently, until they’re charred on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Let rest until they’re cool enough to handle.
Finish the salad
- Stand each corn cob upright and use a knife to slide down the cob and cut the kernels off. Add the corn kernels to the bowl with the dressing.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ’nduja or chorizo and garlic to the skillet, and if using chorizo, add a tiny splash of olive oil.
- Fry until the ’nduja turns a slightly darker red, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir into the bowl of dressing and corn along with the tomatoes.
- Pull the herb leaves from the stems, roughly chop most of them and add to the bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Toss, then transfer the salad to a serving platter.
- Wipe out the skillet, then melt the remaining butter over high heat. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Once the skillet is hot and the butter is foaming, add the scallops, leaving space between them to avoid steaming and cook for 2 minutes, turn them over and sear until lightly browned and opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Transfer the scallops to the platter, snuggling them into the salad.
- Top with the remaining herbs and crunchy corn nuts. Finish with a crack of black pepper. Slice the lime into wedges and serve on the side.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I served this salad for dinner and the cheers were unanimous. It’s a 10 for me, and I didn’t even use the ‘nduja sausage, which I’m sure would kick this up another notch.
At first, it seems like there are too many steps. However, just as mentioned in the recipe, some of the steps can be performed ahead of time. Once you get into the flow of things, before you know it, it’s time to pick up your fork. By then, you would have already whet your appetite with the few pop-in-your-mouth morsels, so necessary for final quality control… hehe… and those corn nuts?!
Overall, this salad was both hearty and light. The flavours and textures all complemented each other. It was a mosaic for the eyes and palate. There was sweet, there was tangy, there was char, there was smoky, there was herby, there was crunchy.
Please, please, please do not skip the corn nuts in the topping. I used 1/2 cup and away we crunched. Summer tasty platter with built in fun is what I’d call this dish. What to drink you ask? We sipped vinho verde between bites and were totally satisfied.
After eating this scallop and corn salad, you’re going to wish all future scallop dishes you eat are flavored with ‘Nduja or chorizo. And trust me, you’re going to want to have this recipe handy when all those lovely little tomatoes in your garden start ripening at once.
Even though we enjoyed eating this salad as a main course, I was wishing the snow in our yard was completely melted, because I can totally picture this as a patio starter paired with a cooler or spritzer.
The recipe is more on the forgiving side than others, easier to adjust to your and your guests’ tastes. The family member who ate this with me isn’t a fan of cilantro, but he still gobbled this up not just when I made it, but for lunch the next day too, point being that the cilantro-averse might not be so averse to this particular use of cilantro.
Our curbside order came with flavored instead of plain salted corn nuts, and it worked because it’s the salted crunch that the dish is begging for, so go with whatever corn nuts you’ve got.
I do believe this charred corn and scallop salad with lime dressing is the summer salad I’ve been looking for. Light and refreshing but substantial enough for a main course – meaning my husband didn’t make a sandwich later.
My corn was subpar, but the charring and dressing did a lot to help it along. The smoky corn, sweet scallops, and spicy chorizo were perfect together. The corn nuts brought it up to next level, do NOT skip them.
I served it with sliced melon and crusty bread. We opened a bottle of Don Sebastian 2019 Rioja and was pleased with how well it paired, even with the acid of the limes and scallops.
This charred corn and scallop salad with lime dressing is exactly the sort of thing you want to make and eat in summer! The ingredients are bright and fresh, and the prep is very straightforward and easy. I could just as easily serve this for a quick weeknight meal, as I could have it be the centerpiece of a dinner party.
I couldn’t find ‘Nduja, but found that the bits of Spanish chorizo fried off with the garlic added a lovely savory surprise throughout the dish. And the crunchy corn! How can I ever have a salad without it now? It truly is a revelation, and the crunch it lends is a much needed textural contrast.
While my scallops cooked, I threw some sliced baguette onto my still hot grill pan and served that, rubbed with some garlic, on the side along with some soft cheese. It was elegant yet unfussy and completely delicious. My boyfriend and I felt transported to far off warm European summer nights, where entire evenings are happily spent over meals such as this.
Originally published July 20, 2022