You can use any selection of seafood that you like for this simple popular Thai salad recipe. Note the seafood needs to be cooked before it is added to the salad. To blanch seafood, use just enough water sufficient for cooking. When cooked fish out the seafood with a wire mesh strainer. Reserve the cooking water to use for stock. If you are using crabs or lobsters, it is best to steam them.
Every bite of this sumptuous seafood salad offers a taste-explosion of Thai flavors! At the same time, the dressing never overpowers the fresh taste of the seafood, but rather brings out all of its natural succulence. While nearly every nation bordering an ocean has its own type of seafood salad, you’ll definitely find this Thai version to be one of the best!
In Thai cuisine, a yum is a hearty dish consisting mostly of meat, fish, or seafood, tossed just before serving with a simple mixture of fish sauce, fresh or dried chiles, lime juice, and herbs and often served atop a bed of salad greens. A yum is a stand-alone dish, perfect for a light main course or even an appetizer. The word yum refers to the action of combining an array of hot and tangy ingredients, and talay is the Thai word for ocean; thus, the mixed seafood version is called yum talay.
You can prepare the components in advance but be sure to yum the dressing and seafood right before serving—this is the key to keeping the vibrant flavors distinct.
24 small mussels
1 Tbs. table salt
3/4 lb. medium (51 to 60 per lb.) fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb. cleaned squid, bodies sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch rings and tentacles cut in half if large
1/2 lb. sea scallops or bay scallops
1/4 lb. fresh or pasteurized jumbo lump crabmeat
6 Tbs. fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
4-1/2 Tbs. fish sauce
1-1/2 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 tsp. finely chopped unseeded fresh hot green chiles (like serrano or jalapeño)
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic (2 medium cloves)
2 cups bite-size pieces of Boston lettuce, rinsed and spun dry (1 large head)
3 Tbs. thinly sliced shallot (1 large)
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (4 to 5, white and green parts)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup sliced English cucumber (halve cucumber lengthwise and slice into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons)
1/2 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
Cook the seafood:Scrub the mussels well under running water and pull off any “beards.” Discard any mussels that don’t close tightly when tapped on the counter. Put closed mussels in a medium saucepan. Add about 1/2 cup water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/4 inch. Cover and set over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and cook until the shells have opened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate, and let stand until cool enough to handle. Discard any unopened ones. Remove the cooked mussels from their shells and put in a medium bowl; discard the shells and cooking liquid.To cook the remaining seafood, bring a 3-qt. saucepan of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the salt and let the water return to a boil. Pour the shrimp into the boiling water and cook until the largest one is pink on the outside, opaque on the inside, and just cooked through, about 2 minutes. The water may not return to the boil before they are done. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drop into the bowl with the mussels.After the water returns to a rolling boil, add the squid and cook just until they become firm and the rings turn bright white, about 1 minute. Scoop them out and drop them into the bowl along with the shrimp and mussels.
When the water returns to a rolling boil, cook the scallops until just cooked through and no longer translucent inside, 1 to 2 minutes for bay scallops, 2 to 3 minutes for sea scallops. Scoop them out and drop into the bowl as well (if using sea scallops, you may want to halve or quarter them first).
Add the lump crabmeat chunks to the bowl of seafood. Set the seafood aside on the counter while you prepare the dressing and other ingredients for the salad.
Make Ahead Tips
The seafood can be cooked up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered. Let it sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before dressing
The cooking class at Suwannee is an ideal home-style learning environment that is different from most of the opportunities in the hotels and restaurants in Thailand. Not will you be only watch and participate in the cooking of a number of traditional Thai dishes; also as part of our course we visit a local market to learn about local exotic fruits and vegetables, there is always an abundance of new things to see……and taste!