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Seafood Recipes for Your Next Poolside Affair

Ahh–the bounty of the sea. Whether finned, shelled or clawed, these succulent fruits de mer are a welcome addition to any outdoor menu. And since different varieties of seafood tastefully complement each other, be bold and serve a menu that includes a variety, whether cooked together in a mouthwatering medley or served separately to give guests a range of tempting choices.

Create a piscatory panoply at your next outdoor event by setting up an attractive seafood serving station that displays each offering to its best advantage. Place boxes, inverted bowls or other sturdy items of different heights on a table, and then cover with a cloth. Several tablecloths of varying shades of blue can create a nice oceanic effect. Accent the display with fishing nets, shells and other aquatic elements before placing serving dishes on the table.

Nestle chilled items, such as seafood salads, in larger bowls filled with ice. Be sure to include any specialty implements, like seafood forks and picks, along with your standard flatware offerings. Depending on the items offered, a tray of additional seafood standards (cocktail sauce, drawn butter, lemon wedges and tartar sauce) can be a thoughtful touch for the traditionalists at your table.

The fresh and light flavor of seafood is a natural hot off the grill or chilled on salads. It is quick and easy to prepare, and, in all of its incarnations, fish is the perfect dish for casual gatherings by the pool.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with White Beans

4 6-ounce skinless halibut filets
8 paper-thin slices prosciutto
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups canned or jarred cooked large white beans, drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap each halibut filet with 2 slices of prosciutto, leaving ½ inch of the fish exposed at each end.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy non-stick sauté pan over high heat. Add the wrapped fish filets and sear on one side until the prosciutto is crispy, about 2 minutes. Turn the filets over and place the pan in the oven to cook the fish all the way through, about 5 minutes.

In a separate sauté pan, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the beans, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and sauté until beans are heated through and vinegar has reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, spoon the bean mixture onto each plate, top with a halibut filet and serve with a wedge of lemon.
Serves 4.

Seafood Salad with Ruby Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette

½ cup regular or light red grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
½ teaspoon shredded lemon peel
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch white pepper
Pinch ground ginger

Seafood

16 uncooked, shelled and deveined large shrimp with tails left on (approximately 3/4 pound)
12 sea scallops (approximately 3/4 pound)
2 tablespoons sliced green onions for garnish

Mix all vinaigrette ingredients in a small covered container. Reserve ¼ cup for broiling seafood; refrigerate remaining vinaigrette for several hours to blend flavors.

Preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Rinse shrimp and scallops in cold water; drain well. Place shrimp and scallops on prepared baking sheet. Brush with the reserved ¼ cup vinaigrette. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until scallops are opaque and shrimp are pink and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once.

Place cooked seafood in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until cold.

To serve, divide seafood among 4 individual plates; pour vinaigrette over seafood. Sprinkle with green onions. If desired, garnish with additional lemon peel and fresh herbs.
Serves 4.

Spicy Snapper with Tomatoes and Olives

1 yellow onion, sliced
1½ pounds total weight snapper, rockfish, or other firm white-fleshed fish filets, pin bones removed
Salt to taste
2 limes, halved
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with juice
6 green olives, pitted and sliced
1 teaspoon capers
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno chiles, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (fresh coriander), coarsely chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a baking dish just large enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Spread the onion slices in an even layer in the prepared dish and place in the oven as it preheats to begin cooking the onion. Place the fish filets on a plate and season lightly on both sides with salt. Squeeze the limes over the fish.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and arrange the filets, skin side down, on the onion. Top with the tomatoes, then scatter with the olives, capers, and chiles to taste. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil, return to the oven, and cook until the filets are opaque throughout, about 10 minutes for thin filets, 12 - 15 minutes for filets about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle with the cilantro, if using, and serve. Serves 4.

Maui Luau Shrimp and Salmon

4 to 5 - 6 oz. skinned salmon filets
24 26 to 30-count peeled shrimp
4 bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 10 - 15 minutes)
8 fresh pineapple half-moons (super sweet variety)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Sweet chili sauce to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish

Note: Sweet chili sauce is usually found in the Asian specialties section of your local market. It should not be confused with the thicker tomato version of chili sauce.

1 pound fresh salmon, skin removed (fresh tuna or other fish may be substituted)
¼ cup dry vermouth
½ large cucumber, skinned and diced
2 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 head of butter lettuce or head lettuce, leaves separated and left whole
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce if spiciness is desired (optional)
2 pounds pasteurized jumbo lump crabmeat
2 eggs
¼ cup Japanese-style breadcrumbs, or as needed to bind crab cakes
2 tablespoons chives, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
1½ tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons mild olive oil or butter

Brush both sides of salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

After soaking the skewers, slide 6 shrimp onto each skewer, leaving room on either end. Brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the fresh pineapple into slices approximately half inch in diameter and then cut in half. Brush both sides with olive oil.

On a medium heated grill, place the salmon flesh side down. Grill approximately 6 - 7 minutes per side or until the fish reaches 150 degrees. Grill shrimp approximately 3 - 4 minutes per side or until 150 degrees. Grill pineapple for 2 - 3 minutes per side or until there is good caramelization. Brush all items generously with the sweet chili sauce.

To serve, place pineapple at the top of each plate and crisscross. Top the pineapple with a scoop of your favorite rice. Crisscross the salmon and the shrimp skewer on top of the rice. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with your favorite vegetable. Serves 4.

Salmon Salad Wrapped in Lettuce Leaves

In a small frying pan, place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Turn heat to medium and let the oil heat up for about 15 - 20 seconds. Add the salmon and cook on both sides for about 3 minutes each. Turn heat up to very high and add vermouth. Let cook until most of the liquid has disappeared.

Remove from the pan and chop into small pieces.

Toss with the rest of the ingredients (except the lettuce leaves) and serve in a beautiful bowl, on a platter, with the lettuce leaves arranged around the bowl. Place a small scoop of the mixture into each lettuce leaf, wrap and serve.
Makes approximately 15 appetizer servings.

Carolina Crab Cakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pick through crabmeat to remove any shell. Combine with eggs, breadcrumbs and chives in medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper. Shape tightly into balls and flatten gently to form cakes, then place in parchment-lined baking pan sprinkled with additional breadcrumbs.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add 4 - 5 crab cakes and cook until golden brown on bottom, then turn and cook 1 minute longer. Remove to baking pan lined with parchment or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 - 8 crab cakes.


Article originally written by Denise Bates Enos for Pool & Spa Living magazine.