ith spring here, everyone's looking for fresh, elegant salads to serve, and we think this avocado salad is certainly a contender. Make it in smaller portions and serve before dinner or just follow the recipe, add some lightly grilled garlic bread, maybe a glass of wine and you have an elegant dinner that's sure to please all your guests.

avocado salad with grilled sea scallops

16 sea scallops (about 1 pound)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)

Chipotle vinaigrette (recipe below)

6 corn tortillas, cut in 1/4-inch wide strips (about 3 cups loosely packed), fried or baked until crisp

3 fully ripened avocados, halved, pitted and peeled

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced

3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (about 3 ounces)

Preheat grill or broiler. Sprinkle scallops with salt. Grill or broil on a rack, turning once, until opaque in the center, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine romaine and half of the tortilla strips. Toss with 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette. Divide lettuce evenly among 4 dinner plates. Cut avocado into quarters. On each plate, arrange 3 avocado quarters in spoke pattern over lettuce. In the cavity of each avocado quarter, place 1 grilled scallop; place one more scallop in center of each plate. Arrange apple slices between avocado quarters. Sprinkle with goat cheese and remaining tortilla strips. Serve with remaining vinaigrette. If desired, garnish with cilantro sprig.

To prepare chipotle vinaigrette: In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup finely chopped avocado, 1/4 cup each lime juice and rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh cilantro and chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Serves 4