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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seafood Salad

I was surprised to find out how many Seafood Salad recipes are available both in recipe books and on internet sites.

It was interesting to compare the one I’ve been making for just about forever to the ones that are being made and served out in the big wide world.

Almost all of the recipes for Seafood Salad I came across had a whole lot more than seafood in them. Vegetables, fruit and salad greens were just the beginning of additional ingredients and I had to look hard for the fish in some of the recipe photos.

If it’s called Seafood Salad then I expect seafood to be the prominent or main ingredient.

In my opinion a simple olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper marinade and a sprinkling of finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley is a perfect compliment to a good Seafood Salad as opposed to some of the heavy overpowering condiments I found in some recipes .

A medley of seafood such as lobster, crab, octopus, squid, shrimp and scallops makes a great Seafood Salad. Over the years this salad has been the star in many antipasto dishes enjoyed at our dinner table.

Depending on individual taste and availability you can use all, some or one of the above varieties to make a tasty Seafood Salad but a mixture of any of the above will definitely turn out to be the tastiest and most interesting.

Shrimp, octopus, scallops and shrimp are a good combination to begin with. These varieties are more cost friendly and available frozen year round. There have been several special occasions that lobster and crab have made it into the mix making it a really special treat.

I’ve changed the method of preparing the fish from the original, traditional recipe finding that pan searing the fish gives better results than boiling.

Pan searing preserves the fish’s taste and allows you to have more control over the cooking time. Overcooking produces a rubbery, tough texture that you will want to avoid.

No exact measurements are given in this recipe since you can make it with any kind, combination or amount of fish you desire. The measurement of ingredients for the marinade is just a guide and can be halved or doubled depending on the amount of fish prepared.

Seafood Salad

fresh flat leaf Italian parsley (finely chopped)
pinch of hot pepper flakes (optional)
lemon wedges for garnish
  1. Most fish can be purchased cleaned and frozen.
  2. Place in cold salted water to defrost then drain well. Peel shrimp if necessary.
  3. Lightly brush a skillet with corn or vegetable oil and turn heat on to high.
  4. Sear seafood in small batches, flipping it over to make sure it cooks on all sides. It only takes a few minutes to cook so be careful not to overcook to keep it tender.
  5. With scissors, cut squid tubes into rings and separate octopus tentacles.
  6. Place seafood mixture into a glass container and add marinade while seafood is still a little warm.
  7. When completely cooled, refrigerate until ready to eat.
  8. Before serving drain off marinade and add freshly chopped parsley.
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place olive oil, lemon juice salt and pepper into a blender and blend until it thickens.
  2. Add to fish and marinade several hours or overnight in the refrigerator mixing occasionally to make sure all the fish is exposed to the marinade.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Marinade overnight or at least 3 to 4 hours before serving. Use salad within a couple of days of preparation.
  • After searing each batch of fish, wipe skillet with a paper towel and brush a little more oil for the next batch.
  • Cook each variety of fish separately as cooking time differs for each variety.
  • The addition of a very fine grating of lemon zest brings out a stronger lemon flavour in the Seafood Salad.

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