07 Nov2007


With the holidays fast approaching, this seafood salad is a terrific choice as an appetizer for a festive meal. It is relatively easy to make, can be done before your guests arrive, and always looks elegant and extravagant and tastes refreshing and light, yet is surprisingly economical. It can be followed by a nicely grilled steak, or a well-roasted chicken or even a roasted pork or even lechon de leche. So many restaurants serve a seafood salad that is woefully disappointing. Either it doesn’t have enough seafood, or the seafood is tough, or it is “burned” by a long bath in an acidic dressing. I have yet to find a decent seafood salad in a Manila restaurant. And yet, it is SO INCREDIBLY EASY to make. Follow these instructions and tips to the letter and you will hopefully enjoy the results…

The simplest seafood salad combination has only shrimp an squid (like the photo above). But it works well with some nice lump crab meat, small mussels, lobster meat, small clams, scallops, etc. The first step to a superb seafood salad is superbly cooked seafood. Most folks overcook their seafood and it turns rubbery and chewy. After purchasing VERY FRESH medium sized prawns or shrimp and small squid at the markets, prepare to cook them separately. Clean the squid and peel the skin off. Slice into small rings. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and drop some of the squid rings (and tentacles if you like) and watch them sink to the bottom of the pot. After a few seconds, perhaps just under a minute or so, they will come to the surface and you should remove them and place them on a plate. Taste one of the first squid rings to cook to check that it is properly done… tender but cooked. Cooking the squid much longer will make it tougher. Oddly, after boiling for a long time, it will become less tough…but why waste all that time and gas? A minute or two at most is all you need. For the shrimp, boil another pot of water and place some of the prawns in the boilig water, watching until they too come to the surface and quickly remove them to drain in a colander. Once cool, peel and devein the shrimp.

At this point, most folks stick the seafood into a fridge until needed. I find that refrigeration can actually toughen the shrimp up so I tend to make this so that it sits out at room temperature until fully cooled then it is about time to eat it. I do like a cool salad (it seems more refreshing) so sometimes I do refrigerate the shrimp an squid for say 30 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, make a simple dressing that has freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes, good olive oil and freshly ground black pepper and shake it vigorously to mix. Store this in the fridge until very cold. At the last minute, assemble the salad by tossing the shrimp and squid together with the lemon vinaigrette and sprinkle chopped Italian parsley. Serve immediately. In the version phoographed here, I aded some small sliced grape tomatoes. Total cost about PHP600, and this easily served 14 as an appetizer course, or roughly PHP48 per serving. Definitely one of my favorite appetizers.



  1. Maria Clara says:

    Thanks for the tip on preparing squid and shrimp for salad in their proper stage of cooking. So the clue here if they are ready they float on top of the water like palitaw once they float take them out of the cooking vessel. I love your lemon vinaigrette dressing with this salad. I have seen ones that was corrupted dressed in mayonnaise with lemon juice.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 10:23 am


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  3. siopao says:

    aside from parsley… chives and tarragon would be a great addition to this salad.

    mmmmmm… thanks MM!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 10:30 am

  4. ragamuffin girl says:

    I like dill on my seafood :). Thanks for this recipe, looks great, easy to make… in fact I’ll make some soon!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 10:50 am

  5. portugalbear says:

    Thanks MM for the receipe. This is will be a great alternative to my Japanese salad.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 10:53 am

  6. khursten says:

    Marketman! I love your tips and it has always helped my cooking.

    I should try this out for the holidays!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 11:01 am

  7. khursten says:

    Sorry for the multiple comment. But there is this seafood salad I tasted just recently and you might want to try it. It’s in a Japanese restaurant called Kikufuji (found in Little Tokyo near Makati Square). The restaurant is along Pasong Tamo / C. Roces, right smack beside Makati Cinema Square. It has the ambiance of an old Japanese restaurant, nonetheless the food is good.

    they have a seafood salad here. It’s served with cabbage, some crab sticks, fresh tuna, and mayonnaise. It has more ingredients, but I can’t remember. ^^;; I thought it would be ‘heavy’ with all the mayo. But as it turns out, it was really good! The flavor was strangely light and I can’t decipher the flavors. For me, it was heavenly. You might want to try it if you pass by the area some time.

    p.s. Congrats on the feature at Yummy! was happy to see you in this month’s issue! :3

    Nov 7, 2007 | 11:08 am

  8. Mags says:

    this is a great recipe MM! i’m always looking for recipes i can prepare way ahead of time and then assemble in two seconds before serving. we enjoy having people over and i prefer spending as much time with our guests instead of still be slaving over the stove as they arrive!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 11:11 am

  9. Marketman says:

    Mags, yes, this is perfect for entertaining. And actually, leftovers still taste pretty good the next day… khursten, I like kikufuji a lot, but haven’t had that salad yet. portugalbear, what is a japanese salad? ragamuffin girl, dill would be great. siopao, yes, more herbs, yum! MC, the properly cooked seafood is the KEY to a superb salad, one that your guests will really enjoy!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 11:40 am

  10. CecileJ says:

    Japanese mayo, not our local or american style ones, is the secret to those yummy salads in Japanese restaurants. Kaya lang pag sobra, nakaka-icky din.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 2:35 pm

  11. CecileJ says:

    P.S.: MM, did you brine the shrimp? I’m doing grilled pork chops this weekend and will try brining the chops before grilling. haven’t tried brining shrimp yet, though.

    Nov 7, 2007 | 2:37 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    CecileJ, I have brined shrimp to BRILLIANT results. But brine for only an hour or so, you can overdo it with shellfish…

    Nov 7, 2007 | 2:43 pm

  13. millet says:

    i prefer a modified thai dressing: calamansi juice, a bit of sugar, some chopped chili, some patis and plenty of chopped cilantro. nice to serve on avocado halves, or over shredded lettuce.

    and yes, brining does wonders! and no crabsticks, please!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 3:42 pm

  14. Pebs says:

    How do you brine something?

    Nov 7, 2007 | 5:07 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    Pebs, for prawns, for a kilo of prawns, put them in a big bowl and cover with water. Add about 1/2 cup of rock salt and mix a bit and leave in fridge for an hour. Drain, rinse briefly and continue with your recipe. I do this with shells on. For meats, brining liquids can and do include other flavorings like bay leaves, pepper, etc… I have a post on meats that are brined, I think… millet, I love the thai dressing too. Lots of lime or dayap for me!

    Nov 7, 2007 | 6:29 pm

  16. Fabian M says:

    thanks MM. i think i’ll try to make this during the weekend. :)

    Nov 7, 2007 | 11:16 pm

  17. nina says:

    MM, looks so yummy…I will try this!

    Nov 8, 2007 | 2:34 am

  18. Roberto Vicencio says:

    Next to the recipes and the anecdotal presentation, I enjoy your photos. They add so much to the whole experience.

    Nov 8, 2007 | 5:45 am

  19. dhayL says:

    Sounds very easy to make, I should try this for my mom-in-law’s bday!

    Nov 8, 2007 | 8:38 am

  20. Marketman says:

    dhayL et al, yes, sometimes really simple recipes, but superbly executed, yield the best dishes. Roberto, thanks for the compliment…

    Nov 8, 2007 | 10:27 am

  21. Franco says:

    Hi MM,

    Thanks. Leftover seafood is such a waste. I was trying to figure out what to do with the uncooked ‘leftovers’ after using most of the seafood of a paella, I’m planning to cook this weekend.

    Nov 9, 2007 | 10:21 am

  22. Pebs says:

    What does brining do to the shrimp/meat?

    Nov 15, 2007 | 4:25 pm


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