Seafood Salad with Avocado-Buttermilk Dressing

25 05 2011

Shellfish at the market

As the weather warms up, many of us are looking for fresh meal ideas. A simple salad of chilled seafood topped with an easy avocado and buttermilk dressing makes an elegant lunch or light dinner. It can also be served in smaller portions as a starter course. Many fish markets sell lobster, shrimp and crab that have already been cooked which makes this a snap to pull together. Make sure you select an avocado that is very ripe – I often plan ahead and buy my avocados a few days before I need them because the ones at my local store are usually under ripe and as hard as rocks.

About Buttermilk

Traditionally, buttermilk was the liquid that was left after making butter. Today, most buttermilk sold in supermarkets is made by adding lactic acid bacteria culture to pasteurized milk. Buttermilk is tangier tasting and slightly thicker than regular milk. Full-fat and lower-fat options are available in the dairy section of most grocery stores and it is sometimes sold as a powder in the baking section. However, if buttermilk is not available, a decent substitute is to stir one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice into one cup of milk. Let the mixture sit for five minutes and stir until smooth. Sour cream or plain yogurt will also work – mix with a small amount of milk to thin it.

Seafood Salad with Avocado Dressing

Makes 4 light servings

  • About 16 oz. cooked seafood such as lobster, shrimp or crab (or a mix of all three)
  • 4 cups butter lettuce leaves
  • 20 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh chopped chives as garnish
  • Dressing (see below)

Avocado-Buttermilk Dressing:

  • 1 very ripe avocado
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 Tablespoons 1% buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute – see above)
  • 3 Tablespoons Hellman’s or Best Foods style mayonnaise – regular or light
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons chopped chives
  • Very finely diced shallot
  • Salt, to taste

To Make Dressing:

  1. Cut the avocado lengthwise through the middle and pull the two halves apart. Remove the pit and discard. Scoop the avocado into the bowl of a food processor or processor cup of a hand blender.
  2. Add the garlic, buttermilk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cider vinegar and two teaspoons of the chives to the avocado. Puree the mixture until smooth.
  3. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in the remaining chives, diced shallot and season with salt to taste.
  4. Use as a dip or dressing. It will keep covered in the fridge for a couple of days.

Plating the Salads:

  1. Place a bed of lettuce on each of four salad plates or one big serving plate. Top with cherry tomato halves. Set cooked seafood on top of the lettuce and tomatoes, arranging it so it looks attractive.
  2. Drizzle with avocado-buttermilk vinaigrette and garnish with fresh chopped chives.
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

Seafood Salad with Avocado-Buttermilk Dressing

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Copyright Trish Coleman. Please contact the author to obtain permission for republication. This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.





Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

27 08 2009
Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

Summer is winding down but there’s still time to host an outdoor party before the evenings turn chilly.  Miniature tomatoes stuffed with a little bit of avocado and crab salad are always a hit and are easy to put together.  This dish was inspired by a salad I had on my honeymoon in France.  We enjoyed a fantastic multi-course lunch one day while overlooking the Mediterranean – everything was local and seasonal, including rosé wine, fish, vegetables and a salad of tomatoes and crab.  I took this idea and turned it into small bites that can be eaten as hors d’oeuvres but you could always serve it as a first course if you’d prefer.  Just use larger tomatoes and adjust the number of servings accordingly.  You can substitute lobster meat for the crab if desired.  

Crab and Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes

Makes 12 hors d’oeuvres (recipe can easily be doubled)

  • 12 cocktail or large grape tomatoes (about the size of a ping pong ball)
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked crabmeat (approximately 6 oz.) or lobster meat
  • 2 Tablespoons Hellman’s or Best Foods style mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon very finely diced red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon very finely diced celery
  • 1 Tablespoon finely diced red or yellow pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 very ripe Haas avocado, skin and pit removed
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut a small sliver from the bottom of each tomato so it makes the bottom flat enough for them to stand upright without rolling over.
  2. Cut the top ¼ off the tomatoes. Scoop out the seeds and pulp and discard (be careful not to scoop right through the bottom of the tomato). Set tomatoes aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, mayonnaise, onion, celery, red pepper, parsley, chives, salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. In a small bowl, combine avocado, sour cream and salt and mash with a fork until smooth.
  5. To assemble: Spoon a small scoop of avocado mixture into the bottom of each hollowed out tomato. Top with a spoonful of the crabmeat and garnish with chives.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com.





Kitchen Tip of the Week – How to Remove an Avocado Pit

26 08 2008

This week I’m going to demonstrate how to pit an avocado.  Avocados make a great accompaniment to Mexican and Latin inspired dishes which are perfect for summer meals.  I also enjoy sliced avocado in salads or sandwiches.  As a bonus, I have included a recipe for guacamole.  Pour yourself a margarita, whip up some guacamole and enjoy with your favourite corn chips!

How to Remove an Avocado Pit

1. Slice avocado lengthwise all the way around, cutting through to the pit

 

2. Twist the two halves and gently pull apart

 

3. Using a very sharp, large knife, carefully sink blade into the pit (you can also pry the pit out with a spoon)

 

4. Twist knife and pull pit out

 

5. Et voila - you are now ready to scoop out the avocado flesh or cut it into a dice

 

Guacamole is traditionally made in a molcajete – a large stone bowl with a stone masher that looks like a mortar and pestle set.  However, it is certainly not nessecary to make decent guacamole and you can easily make it in a bowl by mashing the avocado with a fork.  Haas avocados are the most readily available variety. Look for ones that are very dark green (almost black) and soft to the touch so they mash easily.

Guacamole

 Makes about 1 cup – can easily be doubled

(VEGETARIAN)

  • 1 very ripe Haas avocado, pitted (see above)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced tomato (about 1 small tomato)
  • 1/4 hot sauce such as Tabasco (or more, to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 garlic clove, finely minced – optional (purists would probably not use garlic but I like it)
  • Optional: you can add a bit of chopped fresh cilantro but I usually leave it out because a lot of people dislike the flavour of cilantro!
  1. Pit avocado as detailed above.  Spoon the flesh out of each half into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Lightly mash the avocado with a fork.  Add remaining ingredients and continue to mash the mixture until everything is combined and it is the desired consistency (some people like it very smooth while others prefer it a bit chunky).  
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with your favourite dishes.

 

Bon Appetit and Enjoy!

 

Guacamole, served in a molcajete

Guacamole, served in a molcajete








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