Seafood provides a lot of meal choices, but instead of dipping shrimp into cocktail sauce or baking up a new batch of fish sticks, try adding seafood to a salad. Multiple salad mixtures are available to cater to all types of seafood, including salmon, tuna, shrimp, lobster, scallops and crab meat.
The many salad options that feature fresh seafood are both diverse and unique, combining ingredients that increase the nutritional quality of the salad, as well as the taste. Fresh lobster, grilled salmon and canned tuna are common ingredients in seafood salads. Some seafood salads may be used as a spread for sandwiches or an impressive arrangement of shellfish may be the centerpiece of a salad on a bed of lettuce or other leafy greens. Fresh herbs and spices are also used to complement the flavor of seafood and popular additions like onion, mayonnaise and egg are commonly found in the recipes.
The most common seafood salad, both because of its affordability compared to other fresh and canned fish, as well as its taste, is tuna salad. Fresh tuna can be seared, grilled, pan fried or baked and then placed over various leafy greens like romaine lettuce, spinach and arugula with the addition of a delicious dressing.
Let’s get more creative, though, and think about how other seafood options can be used to form some great salads, especially at this time of year.
Salmon in a Salad
Smoked Salmon can be cut into small strips to become the main ingredient in a salad mixture. To complement the fish, mixed greens are combined with other ingredients like pine nuts, black beans, feta cheese and sliced oranges that provide a little sweet taste. The salad mixes best with a citrus vinaigrette dressing, but Italian dressing goes well with the salad, too.
Salmon for a salad can be seared, baked, fried or grilled and is delicious on top of dressed fresh greens. The addition of tomatoes and croutons can act as a complement to the taste of the salmon. Sometimes the addition of another seafood, such as shrimp, may also be added and doesn’t usually interfere with the flavor of the salmon. Different herbs and spices, like tarragon and dill can bring out the flavor of the dish even more.
Shrimp in a Salad
Adding shrimp to a regular tossed salad adds a little crunch and chewiness. Cut up your favorite salad vegetables and mix them in with lettuce, spinach or other greens. Cook and peel fresh shrimp or simply thaw pre-cooked shrimp, cut it up and add it to the salad. Use a vinegar based dressing to get the most flavor out of the shrimp.
Lobster in a Salad
Fresh, cooked lobster meat is also a popular ingredient used in a seafood salad, but not used as often as tuna or salmon due to its cost. Diced lobster meat is often placed on a bed of lettuce leaves, with an accompanying creamy dressing. Lobster meat can also replace canned tuna in a tuna salad or as spread suitable for sandwiches or on crackers as a snack or appetizer.
Tuna in a Salad
Use a can of tuna to create a fast simple salad for lunch. Mix the tuna with shredded carrot, chopped celery, onions and a little mayonnaise. Leftover grilled tuna can be used in any number of salads.
Scallops in a Salad
Slice a mango into small cubes. Cook the scallops. Mix the scallops and the mangoes with a bed of greens to create the basic salad. Add more flavor to the salad by adding olives, cucumbers and shredded carrot or any vegetable you like in this combination. Add a citrus dressing.
Italian Seafood in a Salad
Frutti di mare, the Italian mixed seafood salad you see in deli counters and restaurants all over the country, combines a variety of seafood but most often includes squid (calamari), snails (scungilli) and octopus (polpo).
Crab, Watercress and Apple Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
- 2 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 bunches of watercress (about 14 ounces), thick stems discarded
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab, picked over for shells, drained and toasted
- 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
In a bowl, whisk the vinegar with the shallot and mustard. Whisk in the walnut and olive oils and season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, toss the watercress with 3 tablespoons of the dressing.
In another medium bowl, gently toss the crab with the celery, apple, walnuts and the remaining dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the watercress to serving plates, top with the crab mixture.
Poached Shrimp, Melon and Frisée Salad
Frisée, a member of the chicory family, has a frizzy texture, as well as a deliciously bitter edge. Look for fresh-looking leaves that go from green to white.
4 Main-Course Servings
- 2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
- 1 small leek, white and tender green part only, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 medium orange
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups water
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- Cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups finely diced cantaloupe (1/2 pound)
- 1 1/2 cups finely diced honeydew (1/2 pound)
- 1 small head of frisée, tender inner leaves only, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
In a large saucepan, combine half of the fennel with the leek, garlic, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, orange zest, orange juice, white wine, water and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Add the shrimp to the saucepan and cook over low heat until pink and curled, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the shrimp marinate in the warm liquid for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate. Halve each shrimp lengthwise and refrigerate until cool. Strain the poaching liquid, reserving 1 cup.
In a small saucepan, boil the reserved poaching liquid over high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 15 minutes; transfer to a large bowl and whisk in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and cayenne. Add the cantaloupe, honeydew, frisée, tarragon, shrimp and the remaining sliced raw fennel. Toss gently and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Serve in a hollowed out melon half for an impressive presentation.
MAKE AHEAD The poached shrimp and dressing can be prepared up to 1 day ahead; refrigerate separately.
Grilled Tuscan Tuna Salad
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
- One 1 1/2 pound fresh tuna steak
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- Loaf of Italian bread
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for serving
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 anchovy fillets, patted dry and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, smashed to a paste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed well and drained again
- 1 cup Gaeta or other Italian olives, pitted and sliced
- 1/2 bulb of fresh fennel, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 4 ounces mixed baby greens
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh-flat leaf parsley
For the tuna:
Remove the tuna from the refrigerator 20 minutes before grilling. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to high for direct grilling. Mix together the ground fennel, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush the tuna with oil on both sides and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Grill, turning once and cooked to medium, about 5 minutes per side. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into medium dice. Grill the bread while the tuna is resting. Brush the bread with olive oil as soon as it is finished grilling.
For the salad dressing:
Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, rosemary, anchovies, honey and garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking, until it all emulsifies.
For the salad:
Combine the beans, olives, fennel, onion, tomatoes and tuna in a large bowl. Add the dressing and gently toss to coat. Add the greens, basil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
Mound the salad on a platter and sprinkle the remaining lemon juice over the top and serve with the grilled bread.
Octopus Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans
- 1 onion, halved
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 pounds octopus tentacles, separated
- 1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
- 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fill a large saucepan with water, add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add the octopus and simmer over moderate heat for 1 hour, until tender. Let the octopus cool in the liquid, then drain. Using a paper towel, wipe the purple skin off the tentacles, leaving the suckers intact. Cut the tentacles into 1-inch pieces.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until tender, 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a plate and pat dry. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until tender, 25 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel and dice the potatoes.
In a large bowl, combine the octopus with the potatoes, green beans, garlic, parsley and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4 servings, 2 cups salad with 3 ounces salmon each
- 8 Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 thick slices day-old country bread (see Tip below)
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1 pound center-cut salmon, skinned (see Tip)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat grill to high. (See Tip)
Oil the grill rack. Season both sides of salmon with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill the salmon until cooked through, 5 minutes per side. Cool and cut into cubes.
Brush bread with oil and grill just until grill marks form. Cut into cubes.
Whisk chopped olives, vinegar, capers and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until combined. Add bread, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil. Gently stir in salmon cubes.
- If using fresh bread, you can grill the bread slices along with the salmon and then cut them into cubes. Alternatively, cut bread into cubes, place on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F until dry.
- How to skin a salmon fillet: Place salmon fillet on a clean cutting board, skin-side down. Starting at the tail end, slip the blade of a long knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding down firmly with your other hand. Gently push the blade along at a 30° angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either.
- To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray before placing it on the grill.
Lobster Salad with Summer Vegetables
- 3 – 1 1/4-pound live lobsters (You can also purchase steamed lobsters from your fish market.)
- 3/4 pounds red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pound plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 2 large ears of corn)
- 1/2 cup (packed) thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Additional fresh basil leaves
(Skip this step, if you buy steamed lobsters.) Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Drop 1 lobster headfirst into water. Boil until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer lobster to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining lobsters. Cool lobsters.
Twist claws and tails off lobsters. Crack claws and claw joints; remove meat. Remove lobster meat from tails. Cut lobster meat into 1/2-inch cubes. (Can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.)
Steam potatoes until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until golden and crisp, about 12 minutes. Cool.
Place tomatoes, corn, sliced basil and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Add lobster and onion to potatoes; mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mound lobster and potato salad in the center of platter. Spoon tomato and corn salad around the lobster mixture. Garnish with additional basil leaves.
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