As summer heats up, you probably plan to spend as little time as possible in a hot kitchen — instead enjoying as many hours as you can on the beach. Low-fuss dishes like crab salad and fish flake and macaroni salad can be made quickly and offer great flavor in every bite. And you can even escape the kitchen to grill scallop kabobs.
Crab salad offers a classic flavor that requires minimal preparation. The only cooking involves boiling the eggs. Combine the chopped veggies with mayonnaise, lemon juice and pepper in a bowl. Gently fold in the crabmeat along with the hard-boiled, chopped eggs. Chill for several hours, then serve with tomato wedges, over lettuce or wrapped in tortillas.
Fish flake and macaroni salad can be made with poached or steamed fish. Leftover baked or grilled fish can easily be flaked as well. Mix up the mayonnaise, salt, celery seed and pepper. Stir in the chopped veggies. Add the macaroni and stir again, then gently fold in the fish flakes and peas. Serve over lettuce, garnish with tomato wedges and sprinkle with paprika. Joyce Taylor, author of Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas seafood resource book, notes to make this one day ahead of serving.
Or get out of the house and grill scallops. You can serve them over rice or pasta, or wrapped in pita bread — maybe with some grilled veggies on the side. When marinating the scallops, use a nonreactive container, such as glass or stainless steel. As for grill type, choose what works best for you. Taylor writes that she is a purist. “I love the delicate flavor that charcoal imparts to food. No chips, no gas grill.”
For more ideas and recipes, pick up a copy of Mariner’s Menu at ncseagrant.ncsu.edu/bookstore, or visit the Mariner’s Menu blog at marinersmenu.org. Information on seasonal seafood can be found at ncseagrant.ncsu.edu/seafood. — V.L.
• 1 pound backfin crabmeat
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickle
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
• 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
• lettuce leaves
• tomato wedges for garnish
Combine celery, pickle, onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice and pepper in medium bowl. Mix well. Gently blend in crabmeat and eggs, being careful not to break pieces apart. Chill thoroughly. Serve on lettuce leaves. Garnish with tomato wedges. Serves 6.
FISH FLAKE AND MACARONI SALAD
• 1 1/2 cups fish flakes
• 4 ounces small shell macaroni
• 1/2 cup chopped celery
• 1/3 cup chopped onion
• 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or to desired consistency)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 small jar chopped pimento, drained
• 1 8-ounce can sweet peas, drained
• lettuce leaves
• Garnish: tomato wedges
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water. Drain while cutting up celery, onion and pepper.
Place mayonnaise in medium bowl. Add salt, celery seed, black pepper and mix well. Add celery, onion, green pepper and pimento and mix. Add macaroni and mix well.
Gently blend in fish flakes and peas. Chill well before serving. Arrange on lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with paprika. Garnish with tomato wedges. Serves 8 to 10. (Excellent when made one day and served the next.)
GRILLED SCALLOP KABOBS
• 1 1/2 pounds bay scallops (or sea scallops, halved)
• 1 can (13 1/2 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained
• 1/2 pound button mushrooms
• 1 sweet red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place scallops, pineapple, mushrooms and red pepper in medium bowl.
In separate small bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, parsley, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Reserve 1/3 cup. Pour remainder over scallop mixture and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Alternate scallops, pineapple, mushrooms and red pepper on skewers. Grill about 4 inches from moderately hot coals until one side is golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Baste with reserved sauce. Turn and cook until other side is golden and scallops are tender. Serves 6 to 8.
This article was published in the Summer 2016 issue of Coastwatch.
For contact information and reprint requests, visit ncseagrant.ncsu.edu/coastwatch/contact/.