For Summer, Try Cool, Main-Dish Salads Featuring Versatile Seafoods

Seafood can be a delicious addition to main-dish salads so popular during the warm weather months of summer. It supplies adequate amounts of protein and, depending upon the variety chosen, can add a boost of omega-3 fatty acid as well. Best of all, the fish can be broiled or baked the night before, when the weather is cooler, then wrapped tightly and refrigerated until ready to toss in the salad.

A variety of shellfish and fish can be added to your favorite salad recipe, and the possibilities are limitless where produce is concerned. In addition to standards like shrimp, crab, tuna and lobster, smoked salmon--once served almost exclusively as an appetizer--is gaining popularity in main-dish salads, and with this option cooking is unnecessary.

Possible seafoods from the Pacific Ocean include red snapper, swordfish, thresher, yellow tail and halibut. From the Eastern seaboard there is monk fish, scrod, cod, flounder and shell fish. Or, if freshwater fish is desired, try trout or farm-raised catfish.

Opt for Poaching

If the salad will be made the same day, opt for poaching since it requires little time and adds no fat. Otherwise follow this simple procedure if baking is the chosen method of preparation.

Season whole dressed fish, steaks or fillets lightly with pepper, salt and lemon juice and wrap tightly in foil. Place foil packet in an oven heated to 350 degrees and bake, allowing 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Unwrap to check for doneness, then rewrap to continue cooking. Allow to cool, then gently remove meat from bones and chill in covered container.

TOMATO SHRIMP TOSTADA SALAD

12 corn tortillas

Oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 pounds tomatoes, seeded, diced and drained

1/2 pound small cooked shrimp

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

6 cups shredded lettuce

2 avocados, diced

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

Fry tortillas in small amount oil until crisp, drain on paper towels and reserve.

Combine lemon juice, cumin and salt. Beat in 1/4 cup oil. Gently combine dressing with tomatoes, shrimp, celery, onion, chiles and cilantro. To serve, top each tortilla with 1 cup lettuce and 1/2 cup tomato-shrimp mixture. Garnish each serving with avocado and yogurt. Makes 6 servings.

SALMON BASKETS

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon water

1 (8-ounce) package refrigerated crescent roll dough

Flour

2 (6 3/4-ounce) cans chunk pink boneless and skinless salmon, drained and chunked

3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/3 cup carrot slices, blanched

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

Lettuce

Combine egg and water and mix well. Unroll half of dough into long rectangle. Cut lengthwise into 6 strips and roll each strip into rope about 25-inches long, using small amount flour as needed.

Using 3 ropes for each basket, begin coiling 1 rope on outside bottom of 6-ounce glass custard cup. Attach ends of rope together with small amount egg mixture. Continue coiling until most of custard cup is covered. Place cup upside-down on baking sheet. Continue making baskets with remaining dough. Press bottom of each basket lightly for flatter surface and press sides lightly so there is no space between coils.

Brush baskets lightly with remaining egg mixture and bake at 375 degrees about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Press bottoms to flatten slightly, then let cool on pan about 20 minutes or until no longer warm but no longer than 1 hour. With sharp knife, gently loosen basket from cup sides and twist to remove cup completely.

Toss salmon, peas, carrots and onion together in bowl. Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and dill until well mixed. For each serving, line basket with lettuce, fill with salmon mixture and pour dressing over. Makes 4 servings.

PINEAPPLE RING SALAD

1 egg yolk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Dash dried dill weed

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup tarragon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon instant minced onion

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1 pineapple

1 cup cooked shrimp

6 firm cherry tomatoes, sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

12 small romaine lettuce leaves

Beat egg yolk with salt, pepper, dill, mustard and honey. Beat in oil and vinegar and add instant onion and sesame seeds. Cover and refrigerate several hours or longer.

Meanwhile, cut 4 crosswise slices about 1-inch thick from center portion of pineapple, reserving remainder for other use. Cut about 3/8 inch in from outer rim of each slice and remove fruit. Cut out and discard core. Cut pineapple in wedges. Toss fruit with shrimp, tomatoes and onion. Place pineapple shell rings on chilled salad plates. Fill rings with shrimp mixture and tuck 3 small romaine leaves at back of each salad. Stir dressing and pour desired amount over each serving. Makes 4 servings.

SMOKED SALMON NICOISE

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

Salt, pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 pound small boiling potatoes

1 tablespoon minced green onion

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 pound green beans, cooked and chilled

1 head Boston lettuce

2 medium tomatoes, quartered

2 hard cooked eggs, quartered

1/8 pound cooked salmon, boned and chunked

1 (3-ounce) package smoked salmon, sliced

1/2 cup black olives

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Combine oil, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste and mustard in small bowl and blend. Cook potatoes until just tender, then peel and cut into halves lengthwise. Cut halves in 3/8-inch thick slices and place in large bowl. Add green onion, salt and pepper to taste and wine. Toss very gently, then let stand 5 minutes. Toss again until liquid is absorbed. Pour about 1/4 cup dressing over potatoes and toss gently to blend. Cover and refrigerate. Marinate beans in small amount dressing in refrigerator.

To serve, arrange lettuce in large salad bowl or deep platter. Place potato salad in center. Alternately arrange beans, tomatoes, eggs and salmon around potato salad. Cut smoked salmon into strips and place over eggs around potatoes. Ring potato salad with olives and sprinkle with capers and parsley. Drizzle salad dressing over all. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

FISH SALAD WITH CELERY SEED DRESSING

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons water

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash black pepper

1 cup halved cucumber slices

1 cup diced sweet red pepper

1/2 pound cooked boned halibut chunks

1/2 cup orange sections

4 leaves lettuce

1/4 cup sliced green onions

Combine sour cream, water, lemon juice, celery, paprika, onion powder, orange zest, salt and pepper. Stir in cucumber and red pepper. Carefully stir in oranges. Serve on lettuce leaves, sprinkled with green onions. Makes 4 servings.

SUMMER GARDEN SEA SALAD

2 cups cubed poached sole, chilled

1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes

1/2 cup coarsely diced green pepper

1 cup sliced unpeeled cucumber

Herb Cottage Cheese Dressing

12 lettuce leaves

2 tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Mix chilled fish, radishes, green pepper and cucumber in large bowl and toss lightly. Pour on Herb Cottage Cheese Dressing and toss to coat. Chill thoroughly. Serve on lettuce leaves, garnished with tomato wedges and parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Herb Cottage Cheese Dressing

1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons milk

1 tablespoon chopped green onion

1/8 teaspoon salt

Pepper

Dash dill seeds

Whip cottage cheese with milk until creamy. Stir in green onions, salt, dash pepper and dill. Chill.

Note: The description of the recipes in the July 14 Nutritionally Speaking column erroneously termed the recipes safe for those on "gluten-free" diets. But, the recipes given were for those on wheat-free diets and should not be confused.

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