Seafood cocktail great for company
I like to develop recipes in the summer that require little cooking time yet offer tasty renditions of classic dishes. That way, the kitchen stays cool and you can still serve colorful and tasty dishes. Seafood cocktails are one dish that can be cooked and chilled ahead so there are no last-minute worries.
This colorful, tangy appetizer is a refreshing change from the traditional shrimp cocktail. I like to combine the briny shrimp with bay scallops, the tiny, sweet variety. Watch carefully when cooking the seafood — it can overcook quickly, resulting in a rubbery consistency.
Diane Rossen Worthington is a cookbook author and a James Beard award-winning radio show host.
For the marinade:
3⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
11⁄4 cups olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the seafood:
2 cups water
2 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris
1 bay leaf
11⁄2 pounds medium shrimp (approximately 30 per pound), peeled and deveined
11⁄2 pounds bay scallops
1 sweet red pepper, seeded, thinly sliced and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 sweet yellow pepper, seeded, thinly sliced and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 lemon (Meyer, if possible), halved and thinly sliced (optional)
1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Red leaf lettuce for serving
To make the marinade: Place all the ingredients in a medium nonaluminum bowl. Whisk just until combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
To prepare the seafood: In a large saucepan, bring the water, wine and bay leaf to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink on the outside and just cooked in the center. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon to a deep bowl. Return the cooking liquid to a boil, add the scallops and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the center of each scallop is opaque. Remove the scallops with the slotted spoon and add to the shrimp.
Add the red and yellow bell peppers, onion, olives, lemon (if using) and parsley to the seafood. Pour in the marinade and stir well to combine the ingredients and coat the seafood. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight, stirring the seafood occasionally to marinate evenly.
To serve: Arrange the lettuce on a large platter and, using a slotted spoon, top with the seafood mixture. Drizzle a little of the marinade over the seafood. Serve with small plates and forks or toothpicks, or serve on individual plates as a first course.
Serves 12 to 16 as an appetizer, 8 as a first course.
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