By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Media Services
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
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.
If you are serving this dish with cocktails, put out some pretty toothpicks for spearing. The seafood can also be offered as a first course. For convenience, and to save time, ask your fishmonger to peel and devein the shrimp for you. Serve a chilled Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine to accompany the seafood.
The Clever Cook Could:
--Spoon the seafood mixture onto endive leaves rather than lettuce.
--Serve the seafood mixture as a luncheon buffet dish along with other salads.
--Present the mixture in a glass bowl set in a larger bowl of crushed ice.
--Serve dollops of the mixture on crostini.
Serves 12 to 16 as an appetizer, 8 as a first course.
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups water
2 cups dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp (approximately 30 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops
1 red bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced, and cut into 2 inch lengths
1 yellow bell 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
1. To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a medium nonaluminum bowl. Whisk just until combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the water, wine and bay leaf over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. 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 with a slotted spoon to a deep bowl or large rectangular plastic container. 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 with the slotted spoon and add to the shrimp.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Advance Preparation: Make up to 1 day ahead through step 3, cover, and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Holidays," and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at http://www.seriouslysimple.com.)
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