On the Menu: A Summery Seafood Feast

It was my husband's 30th birthday yesterday and because we were traveling, I didn't have a chance to make him his annual birthday dinner. He's a little tricky to buy for, so every year, I make him a special dinner along with a store-bought red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting because that's his favorite. We've been eating out a ton lately and all the meals have been ultra-rich and decadent, so he made a request for something light and summery. This morning, I sat in a cafe and doodled up what I might make for him.

This meal is definitely a labor of love and you can easily pick and choose what you want to serve from the options written out below. If you decide to make the full shebang, you'll need to say a little prayer before you start and do your best to stay organized to make sure everything comes out at the same time!

I recommend making the bean salad, the pickled fennel, the aioli, and the celeriac salad the morning before starting and be sure to invite plenty of people over to help you finish all the food!

 

A Summery Seafood Feast

SALADS

Celeriac Salad with Lemon

Spicy White Bean Salad

Citrusy Pickled Fennel

SEAFOOD ENTRÉES

Seared Scallops in a Spicy Roasted Tomato Sauce

Clams with Spaghetti

Shrimp and Halibut with a Spicy Aioli and Fresh Vegetables


SALADS

Celeriac Salad with Lemon

Serves: 4
Cost: Approximately $1.74 per serving. (This price doesn't include dried herbs, oil, and other common pantry items.)

GRADE

Cost: $
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 small celery root

1 tablespoon parsley

1 Meyer lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

METHOD

Prep Ingredients: Peel the celery root and cut into thin matchsticks. Juice the lemon and mince the parsley.

In a small bowl, toss the sliced celeriac with lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.


Spicy White Bean Salad

Serves: 4
Cost: Approximately $1.26 per serving.* (This price doesn't include dried herbs, oil, and other common pantry items.)

GRADE

Cost: $
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 long hot pepper

4 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons parsley

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 14.5-ounce can of navy beans

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Prep Ingredients: In a food processor, combine the garlic, long hot pepper, parsley, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Pulse until finely chopped. Drain and rinse the beans.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.


Citrusy Pickled Fennel

Serves: 4
Cost: Approximately $1.26 per serving.* (This price doesn't include dried herbs, oil, and other common pantry items.)

GRADE

Cost: $
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 small bulb of fennel (reserve the stalks for the Shrimp and Halibut recipe)

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 an orange

METHOD

Prep Ingredients: Remove the core from the fennel bulb and thinly slice the flesh. Zest the orange.

In a small sauce pan, combine the water, white wine vinegar, yellow mustard seeds, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced just slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place the fennel in a medium mason jar with a lid and pour the liquid over it. Stir gently. Cover and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.


SEAFOOD ENTRÉES

Seared Scallops in a Spicy Roasted Tomato Sauce

Serves: 4 as an appetizer
Cost: Approximately $4.66 per serving. (This price doesn't include dried herbs, oil, and other common pantry items.)

GRADE

Cost: $$$
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

10-12 large, dry sea scallops

1 pound Campari tomatoes (or any variety you like)

2-3 long hot peppers

1 large shallot

5 garlic cloves

3 bay leaves, preferably fresh

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup parsley

METHOD

Prep Ingredients: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Remove the stems from the peppers. Peel the shallot and quarter. Peel the garlic. Pat the scallops dry and remove the muscle. Store in the fridge until ready to cook.

In a skillet, toss the tomatoes, garlic, shallot, and peppers in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables begin to char slightly, about 25-30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and remove from the oven.

Transfer the vegetables and all the juices in the skillet to a food processor along with the extra virgin olive oil and parsley. Pulse until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a warm serving dish and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat until very hot and frothy. Add the scallops and cook without moving for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Gently flip and cook an additional minute or so until the scallops are well seared and opaque. Do not over cook.

To Serve: Transfer the scallops to the serving bowl with the sauce and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!


Clams with Spaghetti

Serves: 4 as an appetizer (or 2 as an entrée)
Cost: Approximately $4.13 per serving. (This price doesn't include dried herbs, oil, and other common pantry items.)

GRADE

Cost: $
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 pound clams

1 long hot pepper

4 cloves garlic

1 large shallot

2 ounces anchovies in olive oil

1 14.5-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1 lemon

Olive oil

8 ounces spaghetti

1 cup reserved pasta cooking water

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish

METHOD

Prep Ingredients: Scrub the clams and chill until ready to use. Mince the pepper, garlic, and shallot. Juice the lemon.  Prepare the pasta according to package instructions and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.

Make the Sauce: In a large pot with a lid, heat a slick of oil over medium high until very hot. Add the minced pepper, shallot, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Adjust the heat so as to not burn the garlic. Add the anchovies and their and stir until the anchovies are melted. Add the stock and tomatoes and continue cooking, mashing the tomatoes with the back of your spoon. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the reserved pasta water Taste and season with salt and pepper. 

Cook the Clams: Turn the sauce up to high. Once boiling, add the clams and cover immediately. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until all the clams have opened. Turn off the heat and add the cooked spaghetti and toss to combine.

To Serve: Transfer the spaghetti to a serving dish and sprinkle a bit of fresh parsley on top if desired. Enjoy!


Shrimp and Halibut with a Spicy Aioli and Fresh Vegetables

Serves: 4 as an appetizer (or 2 as an entrée)
Cost: Approximately $6.94 per serving. (This price doesn't include dried herbs, oil, and other common pantry items.)

GRADE

Cost: $$$
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound shrimp

1/2 pound halibut (or any flaky, white fish)

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 stalks celery

3 Persian cucumbers

1 large fennel stalk (reserved from the fennel recipe above)

10 mint leaves

1/2 of a lemon

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

SPICY AIOLI

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 egg

1 egg yolk

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Cayenne powder, to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Prep Ingredients: Peel and devein the shrimp. You may remove and discard the tails if you like, but I prefer to keep mine on! Pat the fish and shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper.  Keep separate and chill in the fridge. Thinly slice the celery and cucumber on an angle. Thinly slice the fennel stalk. Juice the lemon.

Start the Salad: In a large serving dish, toss the celery, cucumber, and fennel with the lemon juice. Chill until ready to serve.

Prepare the Aioli: In a food processor, combine the garlic and lemon juice and pulse until the garlic is well minced. Add the egg and egg yolk and pulse until smooth and creamy Slowly add the olive oil, pulsing continuously until well-combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Cook the Shrimp and Fish: Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high until frothy and melted. Add the shrimp in an even layer and cook for 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook an additional minute or two until the shrimp are opaque but not overcooked. Transfer to a plate. 

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium high and add the fish, skin side down. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the skin is very crispy. Gently flip and cook an additional minute or two until the fish flakes easily. Transfer to the plate with the shrimp.

To the serving dish with the vegetables, add the extra virgin olive oil and gently toss. Right before serving, season with salt and pepper and tear the mint leaves in half and sprinkle over the vegetables and toss. Arrange the fish and shrimp on top. 

To Serve: Drizzle the dish with the aioli and serve with additional aioli on the side. Enjoy!

Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work at 2U, shoot for Time Out New York, and love to cook delicious recipes in my spare time!