I make a huge platter of this seafood salad with garlic and oil for every holiday!
Ok, so it’s that time of the year when I always feel full. There’s just soooooooo much food everywhere! I’m not complaining; it’s one of the things I love best about the holiday season, BUT I’m like an addict and I. Can’t. Stop. Eating.
This simple seafood salad with garlic and oil is my antidote to all of that heavy food.
It’s so light and clean and satisfying and it feels just a little bit fancy…
Ok, I’m going to fess up here… I actually made a HUGE platter of this and served it at Thanksgiving alongside the turkey and sides. It may not be traditional, but it was goooooood. And, everyone ate it… even the doubters who thought this was too much of a break from tradition… and, because it’s a cold salad, it made for the best leftovers — which was my master plan all along. Having leftovers that are not heavy is a great thing.
One of the greatest things to do with leftover seafood, is to make a lettuce or cabbage wrap with them. These Smoky Shrimp Cabbage Leaf Wraps are awesome and will take you only a few minutes to prepare!
I make this dish a lot. It’s great for a dinner party. Or brunch. Or… just because. And, it’s adaptable to whatever seafood looks freshest when you are at the fish market.
This time, I used a ton of shrimp and squid. I was happy to be able to buy the shrimp already deveined and the squid was already cleaned so all I had to do was slice it…
Not only is this seafood salad delicious and refreshing, but it is really good for you:
Clams, aside from being a favorite of mine, are one of the most nutritious foods around. Anytime you steam clams, make sure you also use the steaming liquid in a sauce of some kind because the water soaks up the benefits of the clam shells. These shells are a Chinese herb (Ge Ke) that’s used to clear phlegm and neutralize stomach acid. They are the “tums” of Chinese herbs and are also good for some coughs and wheezing.
In Chinese medicine, scallops are considered to have some great health benefits. They are great for people who find that they are urinating too often at night and they are also great for the digestion; they are especially good at relieving bloating, constipation, and excessive belching.
Some people used to stay away from shrimp because they were afraid that eating them raised cholesterol levels. Now, research shows that shrimp actually can lower triglycerides because they are rich in Omega-3s. And, they are high in protein and low in calories, so really, they are a pretty good thing. Squid contains lots of great vitamins and minerals, so add that to the shrimp and you are on your way to a healthy meal.
Also, whenever I cook anything in boiling water, I like to add some Chinese herbs for whatever conditions I feel need help at the time. One of my favorites is Huang Qi (Astragalus). It is great for an over-all strengthening of the body and it’s energy. So, when I’m cooking all of this seafood, I keep removing each item as it’s done with a slotted spoon and I keep the water for the next item. The herbs infuse their healing power into each seafood, so it’s a great thing.
Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.
Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….
- 1 Tbs white vinegar
- sea salt
- 2 sticks of Huang Qi (Astragalus), if using
- 2 lb large shrimp, deveined, but tails left on
- 1-1/2 lb squid, cleaned and bodies sliced into rings (cut up tentacles if you like them)
- 1 lb sea scallops, halved if very large
- 2 dozen little neck clams, scrubbed well
- 8 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 whole head of garlic, cloves minced
- dried hot red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- Fill a big pot with water. Add vinegar and a handful of salt and Huang Qi (optional) and bring to a boil.
- Add the shrimp and cook just until done, about 3 minutes. Transfer the cooked shrimp to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
- Bring the water back to a boil and add the squid. Cook until done, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with a slotted spoon.
- Bring the water back to a boil and add the scallops. Cook until done, about 5 minutes. Transfer these in the same manner.
- Pour most of the water out of the pot, leaving about 2 inches of water in the pot. Add the clams gently, trying to keep them in a single layer. Cover the pot and let the clams cook until the shells are opened, about 10 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Drain and transfer to the bowl with the rest of the seafood.
- Add the celery and onion to the seafood.
- The seafood can now be covered and stored in the refrigerator if you are not planning on serving it right away (I often make this the day before).
- Heat the oil in a small pot. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and simmer, stirring occasionally, just until the garlic starts to brown, being careful not to let it burn.
- When you are ready to serve the seafood, drizzle the oil all over the top. Enjoy!