I can’t say I’m California dreamin’ because the weather here in New Jersey has been every bit as spectacularly beautiful this week as anything I encountered on my recent trip to Santa Barbara.
But I did have a yen for a cold seafood salad similar to the one I ate there – spicy yet cool at the same time, and packed with not just seafood, but pineapple, papaya and mango too. Here in Princeton, I don’t have the ocean view as surfers prepare to catch the next wave. I don’t have the hillsides adorned in brightly colored ice plant flowers.
I can’t meditate amid a pebble-guided labyrinth overlooking the ocean:
But I can have my version of that summery, flavorful salad.
And now so can you.
Santa Barbara Seafood Salad
Two generous portions
- four ounces rock shrimp (or any other kind)
- four ounces bay scallops (or larger scallops, cut into quarters)
- four ounces squid
- (or any combination of seafood you like)
In a covered skillet, bring the following to a boil:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup white wine
- whole black peppers (about 10)
- 1 T. coriander seeds
- 1 large slice onion
- 1 bay leaf
Add the seafood to the boiling water, put the cover back on and let the seafood simmer for only three or four minutes maximum. Drain the water. Pick out the seeds, onion and bay leaf and set the cleaned-off seafood aside in a bowl to cool in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, mix the below ingredients together (except the avocado, which you could add to the fruit if you like, or you could save it to decorate the side of the salad.)
- 1/2 mango, diced
- 1/4 cup diced pineapple
- 1/4 cup diced papaya
- one red chili pepper, minced (or jalapeno)
- a few sprigs of cilantro, minced
- 1 stalk of celery, minced
- 1/2 avocado
For the dressing:
- juice from 1/2 lime
- 4 T. olive oil
- 1 t. Cajun seasoning
- salt to taste
Mix the fruit and the seafood in a bowl. Toss with the dressing and place on a lettuce-covered plate. Surround with slices of avocado and garnish with cilantro leaves and a stalk of celery.