Magazine article Sunset

Simple but Stylish Cold Seafood Salads

Magazine article Sunset

Simple but Stylish Cold Seafood Salads

Article excerpt

Fresh and light, these cold main-dish salads use a variety of simple ways to prepare and present fish.

The first salad starts with cracked Dungeness crab; shell it and serve the meat (underneath the back shell of the crab) with the unshelled legs. Or buy shelled Dungeness, king, or other crab.

The second salad uses steeping, a way to cook fish in hot water to ensure maximum moistness and to preserve the delicate texture of the sole.

Sliced raw fish is served Japanese fashion in the third salad. You may need to visit an Asian market to get the wasabi paste (Japanese horseradish--it comes in a tube, or use prepared horseradish as an alternative) and the sliced pickled ginger. Bake lean rockfish without butter or other added fat, then let cool to make the last salad; it goes with spinach.

Consider these salads for a spring luncheon, served with sourdough bread and a dry white wine such as a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

Cracked Crab and Yellow Rice Salad 1 large cooked Dungeness crab (about 2 lb.), cleaned and cracked (save uncracked back shell), or 3/4 pound shelled crab Water 1 to 1-1/2 pounds asparagus, tough ends snapped off and spears peeled, if desired Turmeric dressing (recipe follows) 1-1/2 cups cold cooked long-grain white rice 1/3 cup finely chopped green onion Salt and pepper Parsley sprigs (optional)

Rinse crab back shell; set aside. Pick meat from crab body; discard shells. Mound meat on one side of a large platter; arrange unshelled legs and claws around the meat. Top with the reserved back shell; keep cool.

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, bring 1 inch water to a boil. Lay asparagus in pan and cook on high heat, uncovered, just until spears are tender-crisp to bite, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain asparagus, immerse in cold water until cool, and drain again. Arrange on platter with crab; spoon about 1/3 of the dressing over asparagus.

Mix remaining dressing with rice and onion; season with salt and pepper and mound onto platter.

Serve, or cover and chill as long as 4 hours. Makes 2 or 3 servings. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Turmeric dressing. With a wire whisk, blend together 1/3 cup salad oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric. Use, or set aside up to 4 hours. Makes 1/2 cup.

Sole Fillets with Four-Color

Vegetable Salad 1-1/2 pounds small skinned sole fillets (about 1/4 in. thick) Water 1/4 pound edible-pod peas, ends and strings removed 2 medium-size red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped 1/4 pound daikon, peeled and very finely shredded 4 small (about 1 lb. total) yellow crookneck squash or zucchini, ends trimmed and squash cut into matchstick-size slivers 4 small carrots, peeled and cut into thin diagonal slices Szechwan peppercorn dressing (recipe follows)

Cut fillets in half lengthwise; roll each piece up and push an equal number of rolls onto each of 4 slender skewers (8 to 9 in. long).

In a 10- to 12-inch-wide deep pan, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Lay skewered fish in water, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand until fish flakes readily in center when prodded, about 5 minutes. Lift skewers from water and lay flat in a dish.

Return water to a boil. Add peas and cook just until they turn a brighter green, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain peas, immerse in cold water until cool, and drain again.

If made ahead, cover fish and peas and chill up to overnight.

Combine bell pepper, daikon, squash, carrots, and Szechwan dressing; mix gently. If made ahead, cover and chill as long as overnight. …

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