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Summer Seafood Salad

Summer Seafood Salad

Parades, Barbecues, Fireworks, a couple of meals enjoyed at local restaurants each seem standard fare for enjoying a long Fourth of July weekend and a spirited way to enjoy the national celebration. Happy 240th Birthday America!

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Parades tend to grip at my emotions, including the annual Skippack Parade a few towns over, lending me this feeling of pride and happiness, a sense that all is well after all, and will continue to be, for no matter what the political scene of the time, thousands of Americans along with their families and friends don their red white and blue and for as far as the eyes can see line up along Main Street USA collectively cheering on everything from antique cars, motorcycles, streams of fire engines and emergency vehicles, to marching bands, Mummers string bands dancing in fancy clothing, floats, and, a glorious respectful tribute of tradition when everyone purposely stands up from their seats waving flags and extending huge cheers of thanks to our veterans, young and old, as they march on by. God Bless America.

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I did host one barbecue for friends over the weekend and was tremendously grateful on their insistence to photograph the food before eating. Even with leisurely courses in between, I’m always hesitant to do so feeling like it breaks up the timing of things, but I hurriedly grabbed my camera making a quick shot of today’s ‘Summer Seafood Salad’ just above, the second course of the meal or third, if you count the hors d oeuvres, in my haste turned out a bit blurred leaving me later additionally grateful for today’s feature photo at the very top credited to Patie Lampe.

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Patie also took a better shot of the medley roasted tomatoes with goat cheese and basil bruschetta served alongside some smoked shrimp with a nuoc nam sauce for the hors’ d oeuvres, but then I already had my earlier pic ready to roll and wanted to alternatively share at least one photo of the traditional John Deer tractor gracing the parade pulling along a flat bed lined with flag waving patriots…

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followed by a flat bed truck float displaying a Land Preservation promotion that many of us agree on: No Farms No Food. The slogan says it all. Well, besides, Support Your Local Farmer.

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The weather being temperate and comfortable with unusually low humidity for a Fourth of July weekend, I prepared a chilled Vichyssoise served in glasses topped with some fresh clipped chives off my deck for a first course. You can fill the glasses ahead of time set on a tray simply sprinkling the tops with some of the cut chive clippings just before table delivery. 

Due to the lovely weather this was also the first time I ever served a summer barbecue to a small crowd in courses, which by the way, turned out to be so much more relaxing and so much fun, including providing for a nice flow of conversation throughout the extended pop-up deck picnic.

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We also had some watermelon and the sweetest  honey dew melon ever from the local DeKalb Produce Market served alongside the final course which was: Bob’s smoked Barbecue Ribs whose technique insures the meat falling off the bone, and really, with the rub flavor adhered, no barbecue sauce even needed.

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One of the evenings kept us closer to home but with a late enough dinner to catch local fireworks eating at the home town namesake, The Blue Bell Inn, which strangely even sometimes has people from other parts of the country identifying the Pennsylvania location by the restaurant. One of my evening favorites included the fried oysters which are not typically my choice, but now they are. Crispy and juicy they were so absolutely delightful. Since I am an old school believer that restaurant reviewing requires a specific type of writing, one I do not do on Spiced Peach Blog, though tempting to go on about dinner, I’ll stop right there.

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Well, all except to share a bit of history about the Blue Bell Inn that I think you might enjoy learning about, quoted directly from their site if you happen to be visiting in the Philadelphia region:

“The Blue Bell Inn has a rich history of welcoming guests since 1743. One of the original patrons was George Washington himself. The Inn was marked as the “White Horse Inn” on military maps that led his troops to the historic Battle of Germantown. The room Washington slept in was later used to display military memorabilia from the Revolutionary War. In 1796, the Inn’s name was changed to “Blue Bell Inn” when a distinctive bell was hung outside the building so all would be able to recognize the famous Inn. In 1840, the surrounding area once known as Pigeontown, was renamed Blue Bell because the Inn had become so renowned. The original bell is still prominently displayed.”

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Fittingly, I just have to share with you the masterful driveway chalk art of the flag created early 4th of July morning by the young grandchildren of our next door neighbors who were in town visiting from Boston over the weekend. Isn’t it just fantastic?

A Main Street USA Parade, a Barbecue with friends, including a colorful Summer Seafood Salad, Fireworks, a couple of meals enjoyed at local restaurants, even the delight of driveway chalk art shared by young children, each part of a national tradition for enjoying a long Fourth of July weekend. Hope you too enjoyed your own spirited ways of celebration. Happy 240th Birthday America!

Summer Seafood Salad
Excellent for a Barbecue Buffet, serving 8-10 guests. Greens, Seafood, Fresh Corn Salsa and Dressing are each prepared separately in advance then easily combined together at serving time
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
For the Greens Salad
  1. 8 cups small assorted fresh lettuce leaves
  2. 5-6 stems fresh parsley, leaves picked, lightly torn in half
  3. 4 stems fresh mint, leaves picked, lightly torn in half
Dressing for Greens
  1. 1-2 pinches sugar
  2. 1-2 pinches coarse kosher salt
  3. a few grinds cracked black pepper
  4. juice from 1 lemon, strained
  5. 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  6. 1/3 cup olive oil, approximately, more or less to taste
  7. Note: seasonings from the seafood and corn salsa will blend with the lettuce so greens should only be very lightly coated when assembling
For the Seafood
  1. 5 pounds mussels, cleaned, beards removed
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes for mussels, plus one tablespoon for blanching squid
  5. 3 cups white wine
  6. 1 lemon
  7. 1 pound squid, cleaned, sliced, head removed from tentacles
  8. 1 pound bay scallops, dried with paper toweling
  9. 6 -8 pieces of cleaned, peeled, roasted or grilled shrimp for garnish, optional
Dressing for the Seafood
  1. 1/8 cup or less reserved chilled mussel liquor
  2. 1 lemon, juiced and strained
  3. couple pinches coarse kosher salt, more according to taste
For the Corn Salsa
  1. 5 fresh ears corn on the cob, husked and cleaned of silk
  2. couple pinches sugar
  3. 1 medium sized red pepper, seeded, pith removed, chopped
  4. 1 medium sized red onion, peeled, chopped
  5. 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, pith removed, chopped
  6. 1/8 cup fresh chopped parsley
  7. 12 basil leaves, rolled up in stacks, thinly sliced
Dressing for Corn Salsa
  1. juice from 1-2 limes
  2. juice from 1/2 lemon
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2-3 good pinches coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
Instructions
  1. Carefully wash lettuce leaves, parsley and mint. Spin clean greens in a salad spinner a couple handfuls at a time then line greens on a long platter lightly covered, chill until assembly time. Add sugar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar into a bowl drizzle in the olive oil whisking vigorously until emulsified, cover and set aside until serving.
For the Seafood
  1. Heat a large pot with a fitted lid on low heat, pour in olive oil, add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for two to three minutes until garlic has softened, pour in white wine, increase heat to high, once wine boils carefully tumble in the mussels, gently stirring the mixture throughout the mussels, cover with lid, cook for three to four minutes, remove lid, stir mussels, again cover with lid and cook for another three to five minutes until shells have completely opened, discard any mussels that remain firmly shut. Remove mussels from shells reserving a half dozen open mussels in their shells for garnish. Place mussels into a lidded glass dish, pour a quarter cup of the mussel liquor over the mussels, stir, refrigerate. Separately reserve 1/8 cup of the mussel liquid, chill until serving. Reheat the remaining mussel liquor in the pot, once boiling, drop in the bay scallops and cook for two minutes until no longer translucent, immediately remove bay scallops with a slotted spoon, place into a glass dish with just a few tablespoons of the mussel liquor and the juice of half a lemon, stir, chill. Boil some water in a large sized saute pan with remaining tablespoon hot pepper flakes, drop in the squid, stir, cook in the boiling water no longer than 1 minute, drain, rinse with cool water, transfer to a glass bowl, squeeze in the juice of remaining half lemon, stir, cover, refrigerate.
For the Corn Salsa
  1. Drop corn into a large pot of boiling water with sugar, cook for three to four minutes, remove corn from pot, rinse with cool water, pat dry with paper toweling, then using a chefs knife with the pointed side of the corn up, slice off kernels, transferring to a large bowl. Stir red pepper, onion, and jalapeno into corn, cover and chill until assembly.
Assembly
  1. Using a slotted spoon, add bay scallops and squid to mussels, squeeze in the seeded juice of one lemon plus a few tablespoons of the chilled reserved mussel liquor, sprinkle in a good pinch coarse kosher salt, stir, check seasoning adding in a bit more mussel liquor or salt if desired. Pour the juice of the lemon and lime and the olive oil into the corn salsa, stir, add salt, stir, check seasoning, stir through the chopped fresh parsley and basil leaves. Toss together the seafood with the corn salsa. Toss lettuce leaves lightly coating with dressing, line a long wide platter with dressed greens. Top greens with seafood and corn salsa decoratively arranging seafood all around topping with squid tentacles. Place mussels left in shells all around with grilled or roasted shrimp. Serve straight away.
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8 Comments

  1. Posted July 6, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    There is something so summer about seafood salad, seafood anything, really. My heart swells on the 4th too, Peggy. A parade downtown turns even the biggest cities into small town America. I love the “No Farms, No Food” message because it’s true. We have lost our connection to the local farmer and developed a warped pseudo-connection with the companies that process the convenience foods we have come to enjoy. It seems that millennials have ignited interest in farming again, and I hope it continues, for all our sakes. Your cookout looks delicious! That bruschetta…I can practically taste it. And great job on the chalk-art, kids! Happy July, my friend. Hugs~
    Kelly recently posted…Weekending with my Girl in TampaMy Profile

    • Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, I know what you mean, seafood salad and summer match so well. Happy I have a compatriot in the Parade genre! I’m happy too that there is such an interest in farms and foods that people eat, kind of crazy that this is simply how the generation of my Aunt Betty just ate… without the fanfare, but then there also was not the concern over farmland and cognizance needing to support the local farms. The cookout was really fun and I loved serving everything by courses at leisure- beats the chaos of getting everything on the table at once, far more enjoyable too. Talk to you soon and Big Hugs Your Way!

  2. Joanne C.
    Posted July 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Peg, that seafood salad looks scrumptious -we could use a chef down the shore ha ha. I think they did a nice job with the Blue Bell Inn and the changes still fit in with the history, food is as good as ever, still one of my favorites. The Skippack Parade looks like it was packed. Talk to you soon.

    • Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Hi Joanne, thanks so much! Agreed on the Blue Bell Inn, I love the outside and the wall fountain too! The parade was a lot of fun, hope you are having a nice summer at the beach! Talk to you soon.

  3. Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, your town parade looks similar to ours, love the small town feel. I almost always feel like crying when I watch a parade. not sure why but it is very emotional for me. Love, love this seafood salad. Everything looks perfectly cooked.
    cheri recently posted…Food with Friends: The Art of Simple GatheringsMy Profile

    • Posted July 8, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Hi Cheri, it’s comforting to know that some others feel that sense of emotion that I feel at parades too! Thanks on the Seafood Salad, everything was cooked perfectly in advance with an easy assembly at serving time- a huge hit with the crowd! See you soon.

  4. TheKitchenLioness
    Posted July 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Peggy, this looks like a colorful and delicious summer salad – perfect for a 4th of July cook-out or any other summer festivity!

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.