Recipe: Grilled Seafood Salad

Recipe: Grilled Seafood Salad

Celebrate the bounty of the Pacific Ocean by making this delicious recipe for Grilled Seafood Salad. A variety of local seafood is marinated and grilled over a barbecue before being tossed with a homemade chimichurri sauce. You can serve this salad can be served as a main dish or as a side dish and is guaranteed to impress your friends and family this summer!

What Seafood is in Grilled Seafood Salad?

There are many different types of seafood that can go into seafood salad, However, I opted to go with a variety of local seafood from the west coast. Pacific side stripe shrimp and scallops were a must in this recipe because they are local, and everyone enjoys shrimp and scallops. I also included local squid as well, including the whole squid bodies and tentacles. The combination of the squid bodies and tentacles makes a nice texture difference, and also looks pretty in the salad. 

I also wanted to add a showstopping west coast ingredient to this Grilled Seafood Salad: Pacific octopus. Since Pacific octopi are so big, all you need is just one tentacle for this salad, although you could definitely add more if you love octopus. If you’ve never prepared octopus from scratch before, I have you covered with easy-to-follow instructions below! 

How to Grill Seafood

Grilling is one of my favourite ways to cook seafood as it adds lots of delicious flavour to otherwise delicate tasting seafood. Each type of seafood cooks at different speeds and there are different signs to tell when they are fully cooked:

  • Octopus: You need to tenderize and boil octopus before grilling it to ensure it is cooked properly. I tenderize the octopus by gently pounding the thicker pieces of the tentacle with a rolling pin before dunking into boiling water. Dunk the octopus tentacle three times into the water to ensure that the tentacle curls properly, then submerge in water and simmer for 20-30 minutes. You will know the octopus is cooked when you and easily insert a knife into the tentacle with little resistance, and the tentacle is opaque white in colour throughout the interior. 
  • Shrimp: This is probably the easiest seafood to cook. Simply grill for 2-3 minutes per side until the shrimp have turned bright orange and the shrimp have curled up slightly. This is the same for all types of shrimp and prawns including side stripe shrimp, tiger shrimp, and spot prawns. 
  • Squid: The squid bodies and tentacles cook at different rates, with the bodies taking a minute or two longer than the tentacles. Simply grill for 2-3 minutes per side until char marks form. The squid bodies will become an opaque white and be slightly bouncy, whereas the tentacles will curl up and become opaque white. 
  • Sea Scallops: Scallops are also relatively easy to cook, however you can overcook these pretty quick if you don’t keep an eye on them. Since I slice these scallops in half through the middle to reduce the overall thickness of the scallop, these also cook quickly at 2-3 minutes per side. Look for some nice char marks and an opaque white colour throughout the scallop, and they should bounce back when pressed on. Do not let the edges of the scallop crack or split too much, or else they will be overcooked.

Where to Buy the Best Local Seafood

One of my favourite places to buy local seafood is Finest At Sea in James Bay. They always have such great high-quality seafood that is locally and sustainably harvested. I always find that they have octopus (either whole or just the tentacles) in their freezer as well as frozen scallops. They also carry side stripe shrimp and squid occasionally, as it depends on the season. I always stock up whenever I find them available, and I store them in my freezer until ready to use. 

Oak Bay Seafood is also another great shop to buy excellent seafood in Victoria as they provide local and sustainably caught seafood. You can pretty much always find shrimp and scallops there as well as frozen octopus and squid. 

Of course, all these seafood ingredients may not be readily available in local seafood shops as they are harvested depending on the seasons and overall availability. If you do get a craving for this Grilled Seafood Salad and you cannot find a particular seafood ingredient on this list, Fairway Market and Thrifty Foods are always my back-up options. They have lots of frozen seafood available, just ensure that you are buying sustainably sourced seafood from these stores when you do!

Enjoy this delicious recipe for Grilled Seafood Salad this summer! Don’t forget to tag #TastingVictoria, and #SeasonServeBlog on social media to show off your creations!

Recipe: Grilled Seafood Salad

Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes | Resting Time: 2 hours 20 minutes. |  Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

For the Seafood Salad & Marinade:
Water, for boiling
2 teaspoons sea salt
1, 300 g Pacific octopus tentacle, whole
300 g squid, cleaned, body separated from tentacles
300 g side stripe prawns, or tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
450 g scallops, sliced in half through the middle 
1 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons lemon juice 

For the Chimichurri: 
1 clove of garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 large bunch parsley (about 1 cup), stems removed, finely chopped
1 large bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup), stems removed, finely chopped
¾ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

For Preparing the Octopus & Marinade:
1. Begin by cooking the octopus. Remove the tentacle from the packaging and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin or mallet to lightly pound the tentacle to tenderize it, focusing on the top/thickest part of the tentacle.
2. Bring a medium-sized pot full of water to a boil. Add the salt to the pot. 
3. Pick up the tentacle by the thickest end. Dunk the tentacle in the boiling water 3 times to encourage the tentacle to curl. Submerge the tentacle in the water for at least 3 seconds, then lift out and dunk it again 2 more times. Then carefully place the entire tentacle in the pot, ensuring that it is completely submerged in water. 
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 20-25 minutes. You will know that the octopus is done when you can easily insert a knife through the tentacle with little resistance. 
5. Remove the tentacle from the water and place it in a 9×9 inch baking dish. Let cool for 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients to the dish to marinade. Discard the water used for boiling the octopus. 
6. Once cooled, add the raw cleaned squid (body and tentacles) to the baking dish, along with the raw shrimp, and raw scallops. Drizzle the olive oil over the entire dish and sprinkle over the chopped garlic, lemon zest, and dried oregano. Gently toss to combine, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to marinade. 

For the Chimichurri:
7. While the seafood is marinating, make the chimichurri. Add the garlic clove and sea salt to a mortar and grind it into a paste using the pestle. 
8. Next, add the parsley and cilantro and gently blend using the pestle to crush the leaves slightly. 
9. Once combined, add the olive oil, oregano, chili flakes, and red wine vinegar and mix to combine. Cover and set aside at room temperature. 

To Cook the Seafood:
10. Remove the marinaded seafood from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will ensure the seafood cooks evenly. Discard the marinade. 
11. Preheat a barbeque to 400 degrees F. Once hot, add the octopus tentacle to the barbecue and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until char marks form. Remove from the grill and place in a large bowl once fully cooked. 
12. While the octopus is grilling, add the squid, shrimp, and scallops to the grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until char marks form. The squid and scallops will be an opaque white once fully cooked, and the shrimp will be bright orange. Remove from the grill and place in a large bowl once fully cooked. 

To Assemble the Salad:
13. Use a sharp knife to slice the octopus into 1-inch pieces. Add the octopus back into the bowl with the squid, shrimp, and scallops. Add ¾ of the chimichurri to the seafood and toss to combine. Then add the remaining ¼ of the chimichurri to the top of the seafood salad as a garnish. 
14. At the very end, squeeze the lemon juice over the seafood salad. You can serve this salad warm off the grill or refrigerate it for 2 to 3 hours for a chilled seafood salad. Enjoy!

Written by

Melissa Leung

Guest Writer