For most people, the word “salad” brings to mind a simple bowl of lettuce drizzled in dressing. As we suspected, however, you all are not most people. The dozens of salad recipes pouring in for the Primal Blueprint Cookbook Contest have proven you’re a bold bunch when it comes to salad-making and your creative combinations have been inspiring and mouth-watering.
This open-minded approach to salad is exactly what we loved about Michelle DeLorenzo’s Lemon-Lime Seafood Salad. She made seafood the star, bedded it on a layer of dark greens and avocado and got rid of dressing entirely in favor of a zesty salsa.
Michelle admits this is her favorite salad not only because it’s a flavorful protein boost, but also because she loves making people at work jealous with her salad creations. “It encourages them to make salads for lunch themselves,” she explains, “instead of hitting the truly frightening cafeteria.”
The seafood in Michelle’s salad has a fresh, light flavor from lemon and herbs, and a spicy kick from red pepper flakes and Tabasco. Sort of like ceviche, except for the seafood is fully cooked. The easiest cooking method for the shrimp and scallops in the salad is a quick sauté in oil or butter. As for the crab, fresh, cooked crabmeat can be bought at the seafood counter and is the most flavorful, but also the most expensive. Pasteurized, canned crab meat is usually less expensive, but some brands have a flavor that is a little fishy. Just make sure you don’t use imitation crab, which really isn’t crab at all.
The salsa Michelle uses as a dressing is a straightforward blend of tomato, garlic, onion and cilantro, but roasting the tomatoes beforehand gives the salsa a richer flavor than simply using raw tomatoes. Roasting is also a good way to coax flavor out of tomatoes that aren’t quite in season yet.
The seafood combination in this salad tastes decadent but not heavy, the salsa is fresh and lively, and a garnish of creamy avocado sends the flavor combination right over the top. Luckily, Michelle’s recipe serves four, so you just might have enough to share with those jealous co-workers…
1/2 pound cooked lump crabmeat (or lobster meat)
1/2 pound cooked shrimp
1/2 pound cooked sea scallops
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Salt to taste
Your favorite greens
1 medium onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped roasted tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt to taste
To spice it up, add hot sauce or finely chopped jalapeno to taste
In a medium bowl, combine seafood, tarragon, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and Tabasco sauce and place in the refrigerator to chill.
Combine all the salsa ingredients. For a chunky salsa, stir the ingredients in a bowl. For a smooth salsa, blend in the blender. Letting the salsa sit for awhile helps the flavors blend.
**The salsa can be made with raw tomatoes, but if you’d like to roast them for more flavor start by preheating the oven to 375-400 degrees. Slice each tomato in half and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for at least1 hour, until tomatoes are soft. Longer roasting evaporates some of the moisture and intensifies the flavor.
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and gently scoop the meat out of the shells keeping the shape intact. Slice each avocado half into thin slices.
Place your greens of choice in four bowls and top with 1/4 of the seafood mixture, 1/4 of the salsa and fan the avocado slices on top. Delicious!