Seafood, Fennel, and Lime Salad from 'Ottolenghi'


[Photograph: Richard Learoyd]

Like stuffed mushrooms, seafood salad isn't a terribly common dish in the US these days. Sure, you'll see ceviche on every other "Latin-inspired" menu, but other than this raw preparation, chilled seafood lovers are often left salad-less. Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's version in their cookbook, Ottolenghi, is an easy one. They mix raw fennel and red onion with barely-seared squid and tail-on prawns for an even balance of crunch and chew. To brighten it up, they add a generous squeeze of lime, a flurry of its zest, and a spoonful of citrusy sumac. Dill, cilantro, and parsley give the salad an herbaceous finish.

Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't resist the call of the delightfully retro seafood salad.

What worked: Seafood and fennel is always a winning combination, and the addition of bright lime and sumac made it even better.

What didn't: They don't explicitly say to do this, but make sure to dry the squid thoroughly before searing it; otherwise, it will steam in its copious juices. And while they say you can save the salad for up to a day, I thought it was much better right after mixing.

Suggested tweaks: You could use different seafood in here if you like. Scallops would be particularly nice, as well as a little crab meat. If you can't find tiger prawns (or prefer to use a more sustainable species), just use the biggest tail-on shrimp you can find. I used U10 gulf shrimp. Look for sumac in Middle Eastern grocery stores. If you can't find it, add more lime juice and zest (or find out how to forage some!).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Ottolenghi to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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