With summer's end not so far on the horizon, I decided to enjoy some seafood salads this week. When all thoughts typically are on weekends spent on the shorelines, shellfish especially is so satisfying in the summer months when combined with the season's fresh vegetable bounty in a chilled main dish salad. In the northeast the classic lobster roll is a favorite, lobster and celery combined with a dressing of mayonnaise, lemon juice and a little cayenne pepper, served with fresh lettuce on a roll. Accompany that with a salad of grilled summer vegetables, some gourmet potato chips and a cold beer or freshly squeezed lemonade and you've got a perfect beach day lunch. That's my plan for this weekend, although with an impending hurricane fast approaching it's looking more and more like it will be a huddle at home with the family and some movies kind of lunch instead. Ah well, can't control the weather, but we can still always eat very well!
Last night I purchased some shrimp from the fishmonger, and made a refreshing Asian salad. I simply boiled them with some spaghetti. Once drained, while they cooled, I cut up some cucumber, carrots and scallions, and made a dressing with peanut oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and chili-garlic sauce. When all the ingredients were combined and introduced to our palates, the flavors were the perfect marriage. Substantial enough to serve alone, all we needed was a good craft brew to wash it down, and some fresh mango to close the meal.
The third purchase I made from my fish market friends was a pound of crab. Tonight, I'm making a main dish salad once again, this time a crab and potato salad which I have finally perfected. Potato salad, seafood, fresh farm stand veggies, what could be more summery than that?
CRAB AND POTATO SALAD
1 pound cooked crab meat
2 pounds red new potatoes, quartered, boiled until tender, drained and cooled
1/4 pound green beans or sugar snap peas, blanched, drained, cooled
4 stalks celery, sliced crosswise
1 bunch scallions, sliced crosswise
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a large bowl combine the crab, potatoes, green beans or sugar snap peas, scallions and tomatoes. For the dressing, in a smaller bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add the dressing to the crab mixture and stir to coat. Serves 2-3.
Once again, this is dinner. Add a pint glass of beer, cut up some watermelon, and this concludes another summer seafood salad meal.
This all went very quickly and easily. The secret was to buy lobster meat which had already been cooked, same with the crab meat; only the shrimp had to be peeled and boiled. In one pot, one after the other, I boiled the shrimp, the spaghetti, the potatoes and the green beans. While all of this boil for less toil and less trouble was going on, I chopped any vegetables that needed to be chopped for all three salads. While the cooked ingredients cooled I whipped up the three dressings. So for today and for this weekend, much of the work is done, leaving more time for other pursuits ... such as locating flashlights, radios, batteries, and all of that fun stuff we'll need for a weekend of high winds, no power and enough rain fall to create our very own surf right here in our backyard. Hey, at least if the power does indeed go out, we do have plenty charcoal on deck to grill up all those meats in our freezer. Until then, we'll enjoy some seafood sensations and summer flavors as we watch the tide rise ... surf's up!