At a potluck, this serves 15 people very well. Also: keep in mind that I don’t tend to measure ingredients in this sort of recipe — everything except the seafood (which came in packages with poundage labeling) is an eyeball approximation. I do try to eyeball correctly.
- 1 1/4 lbs shrimp, medium size
- 3 lbs mussels, in the shell
- 1/4 green cabbage, or a little less
- 1/16 purple cabbage
- 1 cucumber
- 1/4 fennel bulb
- 1 small red onion
- 2 -3 tablespoons capers
- fresh parsley
- ground pepper
- 1 heaping tablespoon nigella (kalunji) seeds, optional (these are a mild Indian spice which I’ve grown to like. If you can’t find them, don’t worry.)
- 1 1/2 lemons
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tomato, cored and sliced, optional. Add more if you like but make sure they’re real tomatoes, not hothouse. (This is what I had available)
Bring hot water, sufficient to cover the shrimp, to boil. Drop in the shrimp. Leave in the hot water for no more than 90 seconds. Drain and run cold water over. Peel. (You can peel before you cook if you prefer. I tend to peel some while waiting on the water, and the rest after. You can even skip this step by buying pre-cooked shrimp, but I find they often taste a little funky.).
2Bring hot water, sufficient to cover the mussels, to boil. Drop in the mussels — there were enough of these that I divided the lot and did this step twice — and let them cook. When foam starts rising, after about 3 minutes, you can reduce the heat to a strong simmer, and fish out (using tongs) the mussels whose shells are opening, and place in a separate bowl. By seven minutes, all the mussels that will open should have done so, unless your pot was too tightly packed. Run cold water over the retrieved mussels. Best is to put the mussels in a bowl that is directly under running cold water as you retrieve them. Discard any mussels that do not open. The opening size should be over 1/8th inch for it to count for something I’d serve to others, not to mention eat myself.
3Remove mussels from their shells, and add to shrimp, and store, covered, in fridge.
4Slice thinly: cabbages, onion, fennel bulb. Roughly chop shreds to smaller amounts.
5If your cucumber is waxed, or if it has a thick skin, peel it. Otherwise you may optionally leave the skin on. Slice cucumber into very fine slices. Halve or quarter these, depending on the thickness of the cucumber.
6Put the above vegetation into a large serving bowl.
7Add the fresh parsley (don’t stint, but I didn’t measure it), chopped fine. Add the capers, the ground pepper and the nigella seeds. Make the nigella seeds, if you have them, a heaping tablespoonful.
8Add the chilled seafood.
9Dressing: the juice of 1.5 large lemons (slice lemons into segments and squeeze, removing seeds as you go). Add the vinegar and the olive oil, mix, and pour over your salad. Toss the salad up. Try to get everything coated, lightly. Feel free to add a little bit more of the oil and the vinegar, if you think this needs.
10Optional garnish at the end: 1 tomato (from a roadside stand, a farmer’s market, or your own garden, NOT the supermarket) sliced and laid invitingly atop the salad.
You WILL have a lot of cabbage left over. Let’s see, straight-up cole slaw, kimchee, stir fry ingredient, an addition towards the end of a stew… At least it is hardy in one’s fridge!