A succulent, perfectly seared scallop sits pretty atop a spicy, sweet, salty mango margarita… Spicy Scallop Shooters is a perfect starter or tapas dish for a party or special occasion dinner!
With temperatures regularly approaching 100°F, and ridiculous humidity, cold food just seems more appealing. Even with the refrigerated air units running constantly, I prefer to limit cooking time. Fish and seafood, given the short cooking time required, make them perfect summer choices. When I first contemplated the idea of doing a “shooter” for the blog, I was leaning toward doing an oyster shooter. I had my first oyster shooter in Charleston, South Carolina, and I fell in love with the spicy bloody Mary and raw briny oyster combination.
Alas, summer is not oyster season (at least not in the Gulf of Mexico). Since raw oysters must be fresh, I decided to run with another favorite shellfish – sea scallops. Living in a subtropical climate has its advantages, one of them being access to amazing tropical fruit. Scallops and mango may be a new perfect pairing. This appetizer/tapas/cocktail has just enough heat, a little citrus (because you have to add acidity 😉 ), a little savory, and a lot of flavor in a tiny shooter-sized glass. What are you waiting for?
Our scallops are so delicious your mouth will thank you, which is creeepy because your mouth can actually talk.
~~ Scott Adams, American cartoonist.
Make sure the ingredients for the cocktail are well-chilled. You might also consider making the cocktail portion ahead of time, and chilling it until time to sear the scallops and garnish the dish. You can also shake the mixture in a cocktail shaker with ice. After the cocktail portion is well-chilled, prep the garnishes, mix the rub for the scallops, and sear them. Assemble the Spicy Scallop Shooters, and serve them immediately! My husband and I split the recipe (3 each!) and added an avocado, tomatoes, and baby kale salad with homemade Cilantro-Jalapeño Ranch Dressing… A perfect light meal for a hot summer’s day!
As I mentioned we eat a lot of fish and seafood… especially in the summer. Looking for a summery seafood main dish rather than a starter? Try my Caribbean Style Fish With Orange Ginger Salad, or my Seared Salmon and Spinach Salad With Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette. They both feature quickly cooked fish, mango, and fresh ingredients that come together quickly. Here’s to beating the heat in the kitchen!
A spicy, sweet mango margarita and a succulent scallop rubbed with cumin and red chile then seared make a perfect bite and sip to start an elegant dinner party!
20 minPrep Time
5 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
- 1 mango, peeled, seed removed, cubed
- juice of 1 lime
- 2/3 cup coconut water or orange juice
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon adobo (from canned chipotles) see notes
- 2.5 ounces tequila
- 1 ounce triple sec
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho or chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I like smoked salt)
- sever grinds pepper
- 6 large sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry see notes
- 2 tablespoons +/- coconut oil or vegetable oil see notes
- lime wedge for rimming the glasses
- 1 teaspoon red chile powder + 1 teaspoon sea salt for rimming the glasses
- thinly sliced avocado
- thinly sliced lime
Combine all ingredients for the margarita in a blender. If you're concerned about the spicy heat level, start with a little, taste, and add more if desired. Chill well!
In a small bowl or saucer, combine the cumin, red chile powder, and salt. Press the very dry scallops into the spice mixture to coat.
Heat a small saute pan, and add the coconut or vegetable oil. When the pan is very hot, add the prepared scallops. Cook until you have a nice brown sear (1-2 minutes) and repeat on the other side. Remove to a plate.
Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glasses. Press the rim into the red chile powder and sea salt mixture.
Divide the mango margarita mixture between 6 shooter type glasses.
Using toothpicks, spear a thin slice of avocado, then the scallop (side to side seems to work better than top to bottom), then a thin slice of lime. Place gently across the rim of the glass.
Chipotles are dried, smoked jalapenos. Canned chipotles (available in most grocery stores) are packed in adobo - a red chile sauce with a hint of sweetness. Their spicy heat is pretty intense. If you don't like your food spicy, omit entirely, or start with a small amount and add. We love spicy heat, and 1 teaspoon is plenty for us!
A “perfectly seared scallop” may be a challenge for many home cooks. The key to getting a good sear lies in starting with a dry scallop. Unfortunately, most U.S. markets sell “wet” scallops that have been treated with phosphates to preserve shelf life. The phosphates cause the scallops to absorb water, and may give them a bit of an off-taste. If you’ve purchased “wet” scallops, it helps to soak in a mixture of 1 quart cold water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons table salt for 30 minutes. If you’ve purchased “dry” scallops, skip the brine. Rinse and drain the scallops, and place atop several layers of paper towels or a clean, dry towel. Top with several more layers of paper towels. Gently press to remove moisture, then proceed...
Coconut oil should be "refined" when used to fry as it has a higher smoke point.