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Seafood Salad

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  This recipe was adapted from a Barefoot Contessa preparation that I saw on T.V. years ago. It's pretty darn good right when it's first made, but it's flat out terrific if you let it refrigerate for an hour or two and let the flavors come together. Serve it with a cold white wine or beer and a little bowl for your meal compatriots to place their lemon wedges and prawn tails.   1 pound large shrimp 1 pound bay scallops 1 pound clams and/or mussels   ¾ cup olive oil 1 T fresh or dried thyme leavesingredients 3 cloves garlic, minced Lemon zest from 2 lemons ¼ cup lemon juice 1 T Dijon mustard 2 T white wine vinegar (or rice wine) 2 tsp salt ½ tsp black pepper 1 cup chopped celery 3 T chopped parsley (or basil or cilantro) sliced lemon for garnish   So the first thing we're going to do is cook the seafood. You can sauté the shrimp and scallops in a little olive oil in a pan on the stove or boil them in salted water. Either way, you only want to cook them for 3-4 minutes, until they're just done. Steam the clams and/or mussels in a smidge of water on the stove until they open (also about 3-4 minutes), let them cool for a moment so you don't burn your fingers and then removeseafood salad the meat from the shells and toss it all in a big bowl. In another pan we're going to make the dressing - heat the ¾ cup of olive oil over medium and add the thyme, garlic and lemon zest. Cook for about 1 minute, then remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Wisk it all together and pour over the seafood. Toss in the chopped celery, parsley and lemon wedges - then fold to combine and either serve immediately or refrigerate for later.   A few notes: You can easily make this a day ahead of time; it keeps well and just seems to get better as the flavors combine. The dressing makes a little more than what you need - I usually save some for a regular green salad on another day. Also, in a pinch without a stove I've made the dressing in the microwave instead of in a pan and it worked just fine.   Feel free to experiment with different types of seafood - a handful of crab meat or some chunked up leftover salmon would be great additions. Enjoy!

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