Latin Twist: Tapas para las Fiestas Navideñas–Tapas for Holiday Parties, Part 2!


With so many sweets around—and not that I don’t enjoy sweets (love ‘em!)—lately I’ve been craving more green, more fish, more fruit (maybe it’s this boot camp that has had me working out every morning?!).  Anyway, because of my personal craving, I’ve decided to share this tapa with my family and, as you can see, with you! This dish combines a few of my favorite things: scallops, apples, and avocado… And, this small plate can easily be made into a big one!

This festive and elegant recipe is adapted slightly from one created by my dear friend,  Chef Rafael Palomino, from the fourth book we collaborated on: Latin Grill.

Grilled Sea Scallops with Avocado and Apple Salad

Serving Size: 4

 Grilled Sea Scallops with Avocado and Apple Salad

This appetizer-salad is the perfect holiday appetizer for a small fiesta, but could be easily adapted for a larger one! (Gorgeous photo is by Dan Goldberg, for Latin Grill!)


  • 12 large sea scallops, side muscles trimmed, halved horizontally
  • 8 metal skewers
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced into bite-size chunks
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, seeded and sliced into segments
  • 1 yellow (or red beefsteak) tomato, seeded and diced
  • 8 red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large handfuls baby arugula
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lime


  1. Thread the scallops onto the skewers (3 to a skewer) and coat the scallops lightly with vegetable oil.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Light a fire in a charcoal or gas grill.
  4. Grill until the scallops are just opaque in the center, occasionally brushing with more oil, about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Set aside
  6. In a large bowl, combine the diced avocado with the apple, tomatoes, and baby arugula.
  7. Add olive oil, vinegar, and a bit of fresh lime juice and toss to mix.
  8. Top with the grilled scallops.
  9. Mix once and serve immediately either on a platter or individual plates.


About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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