Find great recipes for shellfish that take 20 minutes or less to cook. By: Jason Horn and Cooking Light staff
Mayonnaise may not be the most common sauce for scallops, but perhaps it should be. Mixed with celery and cilantro to make a sort of high-class tartar sauce, it's a perfect match for the crispy breadcrumb-dredged scallops. Serve with something starchy, whether that's bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes.
When in doubt, wrapping anything in prosciutto and drizzling it with browned butter sauce is a solid plan. You can easily substitute a different meaty fish. Serve with fresh green beans.
Mussels aren't usually cooked with strong flavors so their own taste can shine through, but here the heat and spice of curry paste, moderated by creamy coconut milk, elevate the shellfish. Adjust the spice to your own taste by using more or less of the paste, or try a different variety: red curry paste is somewhat less spicy than green, and yellow curry paste is quite mild, with lots of ginger.
An easy crab salad that has tons of flavor―it includes tangy lime, fiery chipotle, creamy avocado, and crunchy vegetables―is baked on tortilla chips for a unique appetizer. To make it a meal, omit the chips and bake the crab mixture in a baking dish, then serve over lettuce as a main-dish salad, or fill warmed flour tortillas for chipotle-lime crab tacos.
This is the ultimate meal for shellfish lovers, with shrimp, scallops, and mussels in a simple broth that highlights their natural flavor. Mix and match with whatever is freshest at the seafood counter: clams, lobster, or firm-fleshed fish like halibut all make great additions, and none change the less-than-15-minute cooking time.
Cook clams within 24 hours of purchasing in order to ensure freshness. Be sure to throw out any clams that don't close their shells when tapped.
When stirring the shallot and broth mixtures, be careful not to break up the fish. Look for wild Atlantic cod from Iceland, Maine, or the Arctic to ensure a sustainable choice.
This recipe pulls together in a flash with a short grocery list to boot. To make this meal a sustainable choice, look for Hawaiian gray snapper or Northwest Hawaiian ruby snapper at the seafood counter.
Searing over high heat is the best way to cook scallops―it caramelizes the surface to bring out their natural sweetness while keeping the inside from getting rubbery. The orzo cooks in lemon juice and wine for deep citrus flavor that stands up well to the scallops. For a nice variation, try rice or couscous cooked the same way.
This recipe's made for two, and it's easy to turn it into a romantic meal: Eat with your fingers, sharing the mussels directly out of the cooking skillet, with a loaf of crusty bread nearby to sop up the sweet-and-briny broth. Of course, you can easily double or triple the recipe and serve in bowls to feed a hungry crowd (don't forget the bread!) as well.
Littleneck clams are easily found at most supermarket seafood counters, and can be quite inexpensive. They're also quick to cook, which makes them an excellent but unexpected choice for a weeknight dinner. Seasoned simply with lemon, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese, the clams' natural flavor is on display here. Serve over any sort of long pasta, such as linguine, fettuccine, or angel hair.
The wasabi-mayonnaise dressing in this recipe adds creamy texture and the unique nostril-tingling heat of horseradish. Cooking the clams and shrimp takes just four minutes, making this unbelievably fast to make, and one serving provides a full day's supply of iron with only 220 calories.
The velvety tenderness of lightly cooked scallops and the crunch of fresh lettuce and cucumber creates contrast, while pungent raw onion and sweet-sour vinaigrette balance each other in this dish. Bottled dressing is perfectly fine, but it's almost as easy to make your own. Serve the salad with crusty bread, or try a whole grain like bulgur, barley, or wild rice on the side.
Mussels make any meal a special occasion, but they're so easy and quick to cook: This recipe, rich with cream and earthy saffron, takes about eight minutes total. Serve with a loaf of the best-quality French bread you can find for sopping up the sauce and briny juices.
Crab is an elegant and luxurious ingredient, but it doesn't have the high-fat heaviness of foie gras or rich butter sauces. In fact, it's downright delicate in this light salad, served cold. It's perfect for an outdoor lunch or brunch, or as part of dinner on a steamy summer night, with less than 250 calories and six grams of fat per serving.
Every coastal cuisine has a quick-and-easy recipe for steamed shellfish in broth; this one comes from the Basque region of Spain, and uses sweet tomatoes, pungent garlic, and bright lemon to flavor clams. It's also rich in protein and iron, low in fat, and comes in at about 300 calories per serving.
A hallmark of Asian recipes is creating deep flavor with a few simple ingredients, and this one is no exception. After searing the scallops, deglaze the pan with honey, lemon, soy sauce, and ginger to create a simple sauce whose sweet, salty, and sour flavors meld with the subtle sweetness of the scallops. A lightly cooked fresh vegetable―steamed green beans or broccoli, or sautéed bok choi or spinach―makes a perfect side.
For this filling dish, mussels are joined by big chunks of smoky Spanish chorizo (don't use spicy Mexican chorizo) and lots of noodles in a big bowl of goodness. It's a fine meal by itself, but a small salad or garlic bread would make great sides.
Flaky halibut and tender scallops combine here for a unique dish. Panko gives the cakes a crispy exterior, but they're cooked quickly, leaving the inside moist. Ginger adds a hint of Asian flavor, while chile paste kicks up the heat. Serve atop a simple salad or on a bun dressed with Dijon mayonnaise.
In Italy, the pasta partner of clams is almost always linguine. That's probably because the long noodles with a little al dente bite make such a great counterpoint to the plump, chewy clams. The basic and ridiculously easy cooking liquid/sauce will also work with any kind of shellfish, from shrimp to scallops to mussels.
Tangy and rich with sour cream and pungent with Dijon mustard, this elegant sauce is at home atop many shellfish beyond scallops: Try shrimp, lobster, even crawfish. Make the sauce and scallops at the same time, and the whole dish takes three minutes. Serve with a fresh green salad for the fastest company-worthy meal you'll ever make.
Cardamom, orange, and mint sounds like a combination you'd find in a dessert, but they add a warmth and a citrusy sweetness to mussels that can't be beat. This recipe serves eight as an appetizer, but just double the serving size to make it a main course.
The key to a great panzanella (a.k.a. bread salad) is a mix of textures: Crunchy onion, juicy tomato, flaky crabmeat, and chewy bread are brought together in each bite here by an herbal vinaigrette with hints of licorice-like fennel. There's no cooking involved, so the salad is fast as can be, but don't assemble until just before serving―you don't want the bread to get soggy.
Fresh pasta has a substantially different flavor from dried, but you can find it easily in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Try it in this easy dish and you'll be hooked―the delicate pasta combines with the slightly chewy clams for textural contrast in a briny sauce finished off with the savory flavor of Parmesan.
Watercress offers a refreshing change from spinach and other greens. Scallops are a sustainable buy, but for the best choice, pick diver-caught scallops from Mexico.
Look for diver-caught sea scallops from Mexico for the most sustainable choice. Lemony hericots verts provide a crunchy counterpoint to the seared scallops.
Garam masala, a warm Indian spice blend, makes a simple and flavorful rub for this succulent seafood preparation. Serve the salmon with steamed snow peas and precooked jasmine rice (such as Uncle Ben's).
Loads of flavor come from a simple combo of olive oil, garlic, and reduced white wine that serves as both a basting liquid and a dressing for the herbaceous salad.
View Recipe: Grilled Scallop Scampi Kebabs with Arugula and Herb Salad
There are lots of sustainable salmon options available now, from wild Alaskan to farmed U.S. species. Keep this easy recipe in mind for times when you have leftover cabbage in the fridge.
This is a great go-to pasta recipe that you can whip up in a pinch with essentially whatever you have on hand. You can try swapping the shrimp for white beans to turn the lemony seafood pasta into a vibrant vegetarian entrée.