Grilling, Weeknight dinner
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Grilled Scallops with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Years ago, I had scallops in grapefruit sauce at a restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida. The combination of sweet scallops and tart grapefruit stuck with me. I was looking for a seafood dish to serve on a Lenten Friday, saw some great looking scallops at my local fish market, and the memory of that meal popped back in my head.

I grilled the scallops, taking advantage of this incredibly mild winter. I used pink grapefruit in my basic vinaigrette, and the combination was even better than I remembered.

Random scallop fact: Scallops swim by clapping their shell together. Don’t believe me? Watch the video:

Recipe: Grilled Scallops with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Cooking time: 6 minutes



  • 1 pound of scallops, about 1 1/2 ounces each, side tendons removed
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Grapefruit Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
  • pinch Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fennel fronds (or parsley leaves, or fresh thyme)


1. Prepare the grill:
Prepare the grill for cooking over direct high heat, then clean the grate thoroughly with a grill brush and a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. For my gas grill, I pre-heat with all burners on high for 15 minutes, brush the grate clean with my grill brush, and wipe the grate with a folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. (Held with tongs, of course – please don’t bare-hand a paper towel soaked with oil over an open flame.)

2. Prepare the scallops:
While the grill preheats, set the scallops on a layer of paper towels, put another paper towel on top, and press gently to dry off the scallops. Sprinkle the scallops with the Kosher salt.

Dry scallops – note the variety of colors
Tendon – pull off of the scallop before cooking

3. Make grapefruit vinaigrette:
While the grill preheats, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients in a medium bowl until they emulsify.

4. Grill the scallops:
Put the scallops on the grill over direct high heat, and grill until they have good grill marks, about three minutes. Flip the scallops and cook until rare on the inside; when the sides of the scallops just look cooked, about three more minutes. Brush them on both sides with the grapefruit vinaigrette, then take them off the grill.

5. Serve the scallops:
Brush the scallops one more time with the vinaigrette and serve.


  • Make sure you get dry scallops. Dry scallops will have a subtle variety of color, from parchment paper white to a very light pink.
  • Wet scallops taste waterlogged and don’t brown properly. Avoid them. Wet scallops will all be the same milky white color. Wet scallops are soaked in STPP, sodium tripolyphosphate. STPP is a preservative, so the scallops last longer at the store. But it also makes the scallops hold on to water; that’s why they’re called wet scallops.
  • I had a fennel bulb in my crisper drawer, so fennel fronds went in the vinaigrette, and thin-sliced grilled fennel was our side dish.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Grilled Trout, Herbed and Citrus Stuffed
Grilled Salmon with Coriander-Fennel Rub

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Filed under: Grilling, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

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