Saturday, 1 December 2012

Seafood Starters for Christmas

I love seafood all year round, but especially at Christmas.  As part of my OMS Christmas menu, I've come up with a selection of seafood starters sure to impress your family at Christmas.

Fresh Oysters with 3 Dressings

Now you either love or hate oysters.  My husband loves them.  When we first started dating we went to a seafood buffet and he helped himself to over 70 oysters!!!  Here, I bought some South Australian Coffin Bay oysters and prepared 3 simple dressings.  To make the dressings, just place all the ingredients into an empty jam jar with a lid and shake to combine.

Lime Dressing - 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) lime juice, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest, 1 tablespoon chopped mint.  To make this sauce spicy, you could add a little chopped chilli or chilli sauce.

Vinaigrette - 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons vinegar (I used red-wine vinegar) and half a French shallot finely diced (1-2 teaspoons).

Sesame & Soy - 1 tablespoon light soy sauce or tamari, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon finely shredded ginger.

These dressings are best made just prior to serving.  You can make them ahead of time, but don't add the mint to the lime dressing until you are ready to serve or it will turn brown.

Fresh Cooked Prawns with 2 Dipping Sauces

Prawns (also called shrimp) are a filter-feeder which means they strain food particles from the water.  The quality of the prawn depends on the quality of the water they live in.  I only buy fresh Australian & New Zealand prawns.  The prawns I've used here are wild caught Eastern King prawns caught off the Queensland coast.

Sweet Chilli & Lime Dipping Sauce - mix together 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons) sweet chilli sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional).

Mango & Mint Dipping Sauce - puree half a mango cheek (100g/3.5oz) with a stick (immersion) blender, then add 2 teaspoons lime juice (or to taste) and a couple of teaspoons of freshly chopped mint.  I also added some chopped red chilli (optional).  To make a creamier version of this sauce you can add a tablespoon of Greek-style soy yoghurt.

You can make these sauces in advance and keep them in the fridge.  Don't add the mint to the mango sauce until just before serving.  These sauces would easily do 1-2 kilograms of prawns.

To serve, put the prawns on a platter with the dipping sauces.  Don't forget to put out a container for the shells and maybe some bowls filled with warm water and lemon to wash fingers.

To make individual servings, place the prawns in a glass just like when you order a pint of prawns at the pub.

Mini-Crab Salad Canapes
Makes enough salad to fill 24 cucumber cups
1 avocado, peeled, de-stoned and diced into small cubes
200 grams/7 oz crab meat
squeeze of lemon or lime juice
salt & pepper to taste

2 tablespoons flax seed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard (I used Dijon)
1 teaspoon honey

To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a jam jar and shake well.
Pick over the crab meat to check for shells, and place the meat in a bowl.  Add the avocado, squeeze of juice and season.  Pour the dressing over the crab and gently fold it through.

I served the crab salad in cucumber cups so they would look good and add some crunch to the salad.  To make cucumber cups, use a melon baller to remove the centre section, then cut the cucumber - mine ended up being about 2cm thick.

Other ways to serve the salad would be - on witlof leaves (bear in mind, these are bitter tasting), thin slices of apple, small pieces of toasted bagel, and many homewares shops sell special spoons and dishes for serving canapes.

So there are some tasty seafood starters.  If you wanted a cold seafood collection as a main, you could easily add some lobster, crayfish, Moreton Bay or Balmain bugs to the mix and you would have a seafood feast.

Thank you to the lovely Emily, on my MS retreat, who gave me some photography tips.  It helps to know what a light meter is.

Sharing at It's Overflowing

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  1. I love seafood too! I am going to try the mango dressing when we have prawns next! Yum two of my favourite things together!

    1. That's great to hear. I love the mango dipping sauce.

  2. They look delicious! Damn you, now I'm hungry!

    Bettina @

  3. it all looks fantastic! i love the cucumber canapes.
    craving seafood now.

  4. Yum, what a star you are! ;-)

  5. These look absolutely delicious! Your photography is very professional, love the styling too! x KL

    1. Thanks KL - Have been slowly learning to use my new camera.

  6. Love the cucumber crab canapes and will definitely be trying them. I also like the prawns in the glasses (simple and stunning) I think I can feel a trip to Ikea coming on as they had lovely white glasses when I was there last.

    1. I like the prawns in a glass too. That way everybody can peel there own.

  7. These look great, with all the heat were having I think seafood might have to replace the traditional christmas turkey this year. Love your array of dipping sauces, will have to try them out!

  8. gorgeous recipes, i must try these vinaigrettes, they look delicious.
    Bec x

  9. Oh my lordy Kylie, these recipes look so good! I love idea of dipping sauces too (and your cute little serving dishes!!) as I'm not a fan of the cold, straight natural taste of seafood.
    Have a good day chick!
    Cas x

  10. What's not to love about all this delicious food!!! Yummy. Thank you for sharing all your delectable treats x x

  11. Love your pics. They are making me v hungary! Seafood is the best for Xmas xx

  12. I think I just found some of my Christmas Eve Dinner recipes. Even though I have just eaten dinner you have me totally drooling. xx

    1. Thanks Sonia. You can never have too much seafood in my book.


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