Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Shrimp and Scallop Salad with Mango Salsa
I find that when people visit from other areas of the country and are invited to dinner, they expect certain foods to be served. For instance, if I visit my sister in Texas, I hope she’ll prepare some of my Tex-Mex favorites, since good Mexican food is hard to find where we live in the mountains. If we’re going to Maine, I want lobster and lots of it. If we drive over to eastern North Carolina to see friends, I always have my fingers crossed they’ll roast a pig they are so famous for that’s basted with vinegary eastern Carolina BBQ sauce. Last year when we visited our old home in Abaco, I couldn’t get my fill of spicy Bahamian fresh conch salad with fiery bird or goat peppers and seasoned ever so lightly with native sour oranges.
If you live in Florida as we do in the winter, guests expect seafood. I like to have a recipe up my sleeve that’s easy, so when people call and say, “We’re just driving by. Can we stop and say hello?” I can eagerly answer, “Yes and please stay for dinner” and mean it. If you live in a tourist area, it’s smart to be prepared, because people are bound to drop by unexpectedly sooner or later.
By easy, I mean two different kinds of easy. The first easy means easy to put together. I want to spend time with my guests, not be stuck in the kitchen. The second easy is versatility. I want a recipe where I can easily substitute ingredients and know that the recipe will still work.
This seafood salad fills both bills. It can be put together in under thirty minutes, perhaps even fifteen if you multitask. If the scallops don’t look good at the market, use all shrimp. If you don’t want to use shellfish, fish or even grilled chicken would work well. We’ve used broiled salmon or mahi mahi (also known as dolphin fish) many times with great success. Perhaps you remember this salmon with fruit salsa.
No mangos? Use peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe or honeydew. Want it spicier? Leave some of the seeds in the chopped jalapeno. If you have a guest who doesn’t like cilantro (and there are definitely some of those), leave it out or use some flat leaf parsley. Just don’t leave out the tomato, onion, or basil. They are the foundation of the salad. After that, almost anything goes.
Do you have foods that people expect to be served when they visit you?
Seared Shrimp and Scallop Salad with Mango Salsa
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cook Home Collection
10 large scallops, preferably dry pack
10 large shrimp, wild caught, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Baby lettuce mix, for serving
Mango salsa, recipe below
Dry the scallops and shrimp well. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet, add the butter and, when it has melted and starts to foam, put the shrimp and scallops in the frying pan. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, or until lightly golden on both sides and just tender to the touch, taking care not to overcook. Arrange a bed of baby lettuce mix on four plates and spoon over the salsa. Top with warm scallops and shrimp, and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Little Moir’s Food Shack, Jupiter, Florida
2 mangos, peeled and diced
1 ripe tomato, diced
½ of a red onion, minced
Juice of ½ to 1 lime
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
1 tablespoon honey
1 - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a bowl and gently toss. Serve immediately, or can be left at room temperature for up to an hour. Taste before serving and add more salt, pepper, rice vinegar, honey, or hot pepper to taste if necessary.