Seafood Salads

Apr 272016

Salad Bowl: Quinoa & Prawn Salad


When I want to put together a well-balanced salad fast, I make myself a quick salad bowl using a mix of pre-cooked leftovers and raw ingredients which I usually have washed and ready to cut. Instead of following a recipe, I simply follow my instinct.


Organising the salad ingredients into segments in the bowl which I plan to eat from helps me to create a well-balanced salad and ensures that the portion size is correct so that there is no waste.


This is a salad bowl I made recently using leftover grilled prawns and quinoa plus freshly cut lettuce, avocado and tomatoes. I like placing a dollop of yogurt or some kind of dip in the center and scatter a few chopped nuts or seeds on top. Leftovers are often well-seasoned, so I don’t always add a dressing. If I do, it is usually a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt.


To learn more, have a look at my Tutorial: How to Use Leftovers to Make a Quick and Delicious Salad Bowl.




All ingredients should be cut into bite-size pieces.

Quantities depend on what you have in the house.

Make ingredient substitutions as you see fit.



2-3 cooked jumbo prawns per person

Cooked quinoa




Greek yogurt (or any other dip)

Chopped pistachio nuts (or any other nuts or seeds)



  1. Cut your jumbo prawns into 3-4 pieces and place and place in 1/5 of your salad bowl.
  2. Fill the remaining 4/5 of your salad bowl with equal amounts of shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cooked quinoa and diced avocado (see image above).
  3. Place a good dollop of yogurt or other dip in the center.
  4. Scatter some nuts or seeds on top of the yogurt.
  5. If desired, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt on top of your salad.
  6. Serve.
  7. To eat, mix all the ingredients together and start chomping!


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Feb 112016

Tuna and Avocado Salad Bowl


My ‘Salad Bowl’ series is a way for me to show you how I make quick and versatile salads for myself using a mixture of leftover ingredients and fresh ingredients.


My Salad Bowl recipes are meant more as an inspiration for you to explore in your own fridge and pantry rather than a strict recipe to follow. They are utterly satisfying, delicious and super easy to make. And once you get the hang of how to proportion your salads, making a hearty delicious and well-balanced salad will become second nature.


As a tip, I find that it helps to keep a week’s worth of fresh raw vegetables washed (but not cut) and ready to use in the refrigerator.


I usually present the Salad Bowl with all the ingredients clearly visible (see the images above) and then toss it just prior to eating.


To learn more, have a look at my Tutorial: How to Use Leftovers to Make a Quick and Delicious Salad Bowl.





All ingredients should be cut into bite-size pieces.

Quantities depend on what you have in the house.

Make ingredient substitutions as you see fit.


Tinned or jarred tuna, drained

Avocado, ripe




Mature cheddar cheese, diced or crumbled

Greek yogurt (or any other dip)


Dressing Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Sea salt



  1. Drain your tuna and use a fork to break it up into a bowl. Add a little olive oil and sea salt to season, and mix well.
  2. Chop the carrots, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado into bite-size pieces.
  3. Chop or dice the cheese.
  4. In a bowl, put an equal amount of tuna, chopped vegetables and cheese, keeping the ingredients separate (see image above).
  5. Put a dollop of Greek yogurt (or any other dip) in the centre. Nuts or seeds can be scattered on top of the yogurt, if desired.
  6. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt over the salad and serve.
  7. To eat, mix all the ingredients together and start chomping!


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May 122013

Danish Shrimp Salad



Smørrebrød is the traditional Danish open-faced sandwich consisting of a piece of bread and a topping. The literal translation of the word is ‘butter’ (smør) and “bread’ (brød), which is quite an understatement for anyone who is familiar with smørrebrød.


The first time I encountered smørrebrød was when I lived in Copenhagen with my Danish husband almost a decade ago. As a Pakistani, smørrebrød does not come naturally to me. For a start, it is mostly cold (I was brought up eating hot food three times a day). Second, you are meant to eat it in small portions on a ‘lunch plate’ which is just slightly bigger than a bread plate (I prefer to fill up a full-size plate so I don’t have to keep going back for seconds, thirds, fourths…). And last, there is a definite order in which smørrebrød is to be taken, with seafood first, then salads, and finally meats (Pakistani food does well when it is all mixed up on your plate). There are even rules about which bread is supposed to go with which topping (salmon and shrimps on white bread, everything else on Danish rye bread).


It didn’t take me long to love smørrebrød, and now I really look forward to eating it when we’re visiting Denmark (yes, even the pickled herring smørrebrød!).


When we’re not in Denmark, one of the ways in which I curb my craving is by making nice fresh toppings at home. This non-mayo Danish Shrimp Salad is a favorite!




(makes 2 cups)



Dressing Ingredients:

3/4 cups creme fraiche or sour cream

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (remove seeds from dressing)

3 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves or dill leaves, finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste



Salad Ingredients:

Small pre-cooked shrimps in brine, drained weight 180g (or 1&1/4 cups)

1 cup / 4oz / 100g cucumber, deseeded and finely diced




  1. In a bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well.
  2. Finely dice the deseeded cucumber and add it to the dressing. Stir until evenly distributed.
  3. Drain the shrimps and rinse them in a colander under cold water. Shake off the excess water and quickly dab them with a kitchen towel so that they are not too wet.
  4. Toss the shrimps into the dressing until they are evenly coated.
  5. Refrigerate and serve cold on a piece of lightly toasted bread or some lettuce leaves. Garnish with tarragon or dill leaves, if desired.


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May 032013

Fennel and Scallop Salad with Garlic Creme



“Don’t let an aversion to black jelly beans keep you away from fennel.” This quote by Kris Wetherbee writing for Cooking Light had me laughing out loud.


The first time I ate raw fennel was at Bibendum in London. I know, it’s a great restaurant in an amazing historical Art Nouveau building in a beautiful part of London. But none of that could persuade me to enjoy the fennel salad sitting in front of me. Black jelly beans.


Fast-forward a decade later and I find myself regularly sauteeing fennel for the base of seafood dishes (cooking fennel makes it very mild). But am I brave enough to give raw fennel a go? Well, a Food52 contest for ‘Your Best Fennel Recipe’ was the push I needed to start experimenting. What I learned through my trials is that I definitely don’t like raw fennel on its own – for me it’s still a mouthful of black jelly beans. But, I absolutely love it when it’s drenched in fresh lemon juice, which balances (ie. tames) the liquorice flavor in the fennel.


Fennel, which is extrememly high in Vitamin C,  is very popular in the Mediterranean. Using a handful of Mediterranean ingredients, I made an effortless fennel salad. The sauteed scallops go perfectly with the lemon-drenched fennel salad, complemented by the Garlic Creme on the side (‘creme’ because I use creme fraiche, not because I am trying to sound overly-sophisticated).


Fennel is in season from autumn until early spring. Grab a couple of fennel bulbs next time you see them, but don’t forget the lemons!





(Serves 4 as an appetizer)



Garlic Creme Ingredients: (makes 1 cup)

3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated (if you are not very keen on raw garlic, just use 1 garlic clove)

1/8 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp sea salt



Salad Ingredients:

8 raw scallops, trimmed and ready to cook

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

2 fennel bulbs (around 1 lb / 500g together)

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (you will need 1 or 2 lemons depending on their size and how juicy they are)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt




  1. Prepare the Garlic Creme by mixing all the ingredients in a jar or small bowl. I use 2 garlic cloves to get a pronounced garlic flavor which can kick through the creme fraiche and mayonnaise, but you can use 1 garlic clove if you want to keep it more subtle. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be made a day in advance.
  2. To prepare the fennel, first cut off the fennel stalks at the top (you can save them to flavor stocks or soups). Trim the base slightly (but not so much that the fennel separates). Cut the fennel in half lengthwise and then put the cut side of each half on the chopping board and cut it in half lengthwise again. Each fennel bulb should now be in quarters. Take a quarter and slice it across as thinly as you can. Do the same with all the other quarters of fennel.
  3. Place the finely sliced fennel into a bowl and add 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 4 Tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves, and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be made a day in advance.
  4. Pan-sear the scallops just prior to serving. Put a large frying pan on high heat with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter. While the pan is heating, season your scallops with some sea salt. When the oil and butter is very hot, add the scallops to the frying pan (make sure not to crowd them), and allow them to cook on one side for 2-3 minutes. Do not turn them over too early otherwise they will not be nicely caramelized. When you can see that the golden caramelized color is starting to climb up the sides of  the scallop, turn it over and caramelize it on the other side for a another 2-3 minutes (you may need to reduce the heat slightly). Remove the scallops from the pan when they are getting firm and almost cooked through as they will continue to cook off the heat.
  5. In four individual plates, place some fennel salad, two scallops and a dollop of Garlic Creme. Serve immediately.



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May 032013

Cucumber Canapes with Smoked Salmon Mousse


Smoked salmon mousse is very easy to make as long as you have a blender or food processor handy. It is delicious spread on crackers, but for a beautiful presentation it’s nice to pipe it into cucumber cups. Cucumbers are packed with Vitamin K (which is said to help strengthen bones) and their peel is a great source of fiber.


Unless you’re a wiz with your piping bag (which I certainly am not), you’re going to want to add some kind of garnish on top to distract from inevitable imperfections. Caviar makes a nice color contrast, but chives or dill would also work well.


[TIP: If you don’t have a piping set, you can just as easily use two teaspoons to fill the smoked salmon mousse into the cucumber cups.]




(Makes 24-30 canapes)




2 cucumbers

225g cream cheese, softened

100-150g smoked salmon, roughly chopped

3 Tbsp heavy/whipping cream

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)

Caviar, chives or dill for garnish (optional)




  1. Make the smoked salmon mousse by putting the smoked salmon and cream into a food processor/blender. Blend until pureed. Add the cream cheese and lemon juice to the smoked salmon mixture, and blend until evenly combined. The smoked salmon mousse can be made 24 hours beforehand and refrigerated.
  2. Prepare the cucumber cups by cutting them into 1-inch thick discs. Using a teaspoon, hollow out between 1/2 and 3/4 of the cucumber so that it is like a small cup (make sure you don’t make a hole right to the bottom or the smoked salmon mousse will fall out!).
  3. To fill the cucumber cups, ensure that the smoked salmon mousse is not too cold or stiff. You can leave it at room temperature for a few minutes to take the chill off if it has been in the refrigerator. If you find that it is too stiff, add some more cream to slightly thin it out. If you are using a piping bag, fill it about half-way with the smoked salmon mousse (choose any tip)and fill each cucumber cup. If you don’t have a piping bag, use two spoons to neatly fill the cucumber cups.
  4. Garnish with caviar, chives or dill.
  5. Refrigerate and serve cold.



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May 012013

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Salad with Tiger Prawns and Honey-Lime Dressing


The colors of this warm salad are simply beautiful. The Honey-Lime Dressing makes you want to lick your plate clean afterwards, so make sure you serve this with bread on the side (or eat it with people who don’t mind if you lick your plate clean in their presence).


As it is a warm salad, all the ingredients require some cooking (including the dressing). The prawns and dressing should be prepared just prior to serving, however the vegetables can be cooked in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the salad.


I recommend butterfly-cutting the prawns for faster and more even cooking. To butterfly your prawns, simply make a cut all along the back of the prawn (half or three-quarters of the depth of the prawn).




(Serves 4 as an appetizer or light lunch with bread)



8 large tiger prawns (raw), deveined and butterfly-cut (ie. cut approximately half to three-quarters deep all along the back of the prawn)

2 medium Portobello mushrooms

125g asparagus spears, cut and discard the lower third of the spears

150g peas or broad beans

4 Tbsp clear honey

4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 2 medium limes)

2 fresh chillies (red or green), sliced (with seeds left in)



  1. Preheat oven to Grill or 450F/250C.
  2. Mushrooms: Cut most of the stem off your Portobello mushrooms and brush both sides with olive oil. Once the oven is ready, place the mushrooms inside and cook for 5 minutes each side (10 minutes total). After the mushrooms are cooked, slice them thinly.
  3. Asparagus: If you are using baby asparagus, you can simply trim the lower third off and serve them raw. However if you are using regular asparagus, cut off the lower third of the asparagus stalks, brush them with olive oil and put them in the oven with the mushrooms. Cook for 5-10 minutes until just tender but still crunchy.
  4. Peas/Broad Beans: If you are using fresh baby peas, they should be eaten raw. However if you are using raw broad beans or frozen peas, cook according to the instructions on the package.
  5. If you are cooking the vegetables in advance, let them cool down and refrigerate them. Remove them from the fridge 15 minutes before you are ready to serve the salad to take the chill off of them.
  6. Prawns: The prawns need to be be pan-fried just before serving. Heat a little olive oil (just enough for the prawns not to stick) in a pan. Sprinkle the prawns with a generous pinch or two of salt and pan-fry them on the butterfly-cut side for 2 minutes and then on each side for 2-4 minutes until cooked through. Once cooked, remove from the frying pan, but keep the oil and juices in the pan.
  7. Dressing: Throw in the lime juice, honey and chillies into the frying pan you used to cook your prawns and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Arrange and serve the salad on 4 plates. Scatter the asparagus and peas/broad beans on the bottom of the plate. Place the sliced mushrooms neatly in a line across the top. Arrange two large tiger prawns on top of each salad. Finally, drizzle the dressing over everything and serve immediately with some bread.


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May 012013

Prawn Cocktail



Prawn Cocktail was a popular dinner party appetiser in the 1970s. Before making this recipe, I had only ever eaten Prawn Cocktail once, and what stands out in my memory is the prawns being smothered in a Cocktail Sauce that was too heavy for my taste. However, if you serve the Cocktail Sauce in moderation on the side, I think this salad is quite refreshing and makes a nice cool appetiser.


Here, I’ve tried out a classic Prawn Cocktail recipe. It’s nice, light and refreshing. Traditionally, pre-cooked prawns are used and I’ve stuck to that in this recipe, although there is definitely scope to update the recipe with grilled fresh prawns and a spicier sauce.





(Serves 4)






5 Tbsp mayonnaise

5 Tbsp ketchup

4-5 tsp horseradish sauce (to taste)

4 drops Tabasco sauce



  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.
  2. Refrigerate for 1-24 hours.






400g pre-cooked prawns (defrosted in a colander in the fridge overnight if frozen)

180g butterhead lettuce (or any mild lettuce), finely shredded

Lemon, quartered



  1. Arrange the shredded lettuce on a plate or in a martini glass.
  2. Arrange prawns neatly on top of the lettuce.
  3. Add a dollop if Seafood Sauce in the center.
  4. Serve chilled with a wedge of lemon.


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May 012013

Salade Nicoise



Admittedly, the worst part of making a Salade Nicoise is the moment when you realise that you need to boil three separate ingredients (potatoes, green beans and eggs) in three separate pots. Don’t let that put you off! Just let that moment of hesitation pass and put the pots of water on to boil. The whole process is much easier and faster than you realise, and the ingredients simmer away while you are busy preparing the rest of the ingredients.


Salade Nicoise originates from the French city of Nice by the Mediterranean Sea. It is a robust, salty salad which is delicious as a main course any time of the day. Traditionally, tinned tuna is used but more and more people are beginning to use seared fresh tuna instead. This recipe uses the traditional tinned tuna which is lightly seasoned to mellow out the flavor of the tuna.


[Tip: If you don’t want to cook the potatoes, eggs and green beans, have a look in your supermarket’s deli/salad section where they often have pre-cooked potatoes, green beans and eggs.]




(Serves 4 as a main course)



Dressing Ingredients: (makes 3/4 cup)

8 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper



Salad Ingredients:

2 tins of tuna (in oil or brine), drained (total drained weight of the two tins together should be 9oz / 260g)

To season the tuna:

1 tsp Extra Virgin olive oil

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


9oz / 260g cherry tomatoes (approximately 12 cherry tomatoes), cut in half

1lb / 450g waxy baby potatoes (approximately 8 baby potatoes)

12oz / 350g french string beans, both ends trimmed off

4 eggs (to be hard-boiled)

1 small red onion (2oz / 50g), halved and thinly sliced

9oz / 250g black olives (preferably Nicoise olives)

2 Tbsp drained capers

8 anchovies in oil (optional)

12oz / 350g Little Gem lettuce (or some other crisp lettuce), cut or torn into bite-size pieces




  1. The first thing you need to do is to cook the potatoes, eggs and green beans. Bring three pots of water to the boil on your stove.
  2. While you are waiting for the water to come to the boil, you can prepare the ingredients. Wash the baby potatoes. Wash and trim the green beans. Remove the eggs from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature (to avoid cracking when you submerge them in the boiling water).
  3. Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, until just tender. Drain and allow to cool. Cut in half or quarters when cool enough to handle.
  4. Boil the eggs for 10-12 minutes (10 minutes for medium eggs, 12 minutes for large eggs). Drain and allow to cool. Peel and cut into quarters.
  5. Boil the green beans for 4-5 minutes, until just tender. Drain and allow to cool.
  6. Prepare the Dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shaking well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Prepare the tinned tuna by draining the oil from it. Put the tuna into a bowl and season with 1 tsp Extra Virgin olive oil, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.  Mix well with a fork, making sure you flake the tuna evenly while you mix.
  8. Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  9. Wash and slice/tear the lettuce leaves.
  10. Thinly slice the small red onion.
  11. Drain the oil/brine from the black olives, capers and anchovies.
  12. Now it is time to assemble the salad.
  13. Combine the tuna, tomatoes, baby potatoes, green beans, red onion, olives, and capers in a bowl. Toss with half the dressing.
  14. Refrigerate all ingredients until ready to serve.
  15. When ready to serve, dress the lettuce leaves with the remaining dressing and toss.
  16. Place the dressed lettuce leaves on the bottom of the serving plate/bowl you are using. Place the tuna and vegetable mix on top of the lettuce leaves. Arrange the quartered eggs and anchovies on top.
  17. Serve cold.


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