Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice

Ready to Eat - Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice www.compassandfork.comToday we feature a healthy, grilled seafood salad, perfect for an appetizer or light lunch. Grilled shrimp and calamari are tossed with baby spinach, (red) salad onion, red bell pepper and avocado to deliver a colorful salad full of crunch. Topped with a simple dressing this dish is quick to make as well as easy.

Melbourne’s café culture makes this style of dish a very popular choice especially for the health-conscious. Many Melbournians take advantage of the proximity to Port Phillip Bay and the availability of great seafood to enjoy an el-fresco seafood meal in the sunshine on offer.

Seafood restaurants are a highlight in Melbourne. We take a look back at how the humble fish and chip shop has matured into a gourmet treat and how Melbournians’ tastes have expanded to cook and enjoy seafood in an almost never ending range of methods, tastes and flavors.

Humble Fish and Chips Turn Gourmet

Melbourne’s British heritage, and a large catholic population, meant that fish and chip shops were extremely popular in the 1960’s when I grew up.

Until the mid-1960’s in Australia, Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. As well, people were not as proficient or confident about cooking seafood. Along with the fact that multi-culturalism was in its infancy at the time, meant there was very little choice for takeaway (carryout) in Melbourne. Maybe the odd Chinese café. The bottom line was that there were fish and chip shops everywhere in Melbourne at the time and generations of Melbournians grew up eating them on a regular basis.

“Flake, 2 potato cakes and minimum chips” was a common order at the time. Flake is actually gummy shark and is a Melbourne favorite. It’s also very good. “Minimum chips” is a distinctly Australian term you saw and heard in every fish and chip shop and represented the cost of 1 big scoop of chips. It was the minimum quantity of chips you could order. There is even a racehorse in Australia called “minimum chips”! It is a much loved term! All orders were freshly cooked in large deep frying vats.

St Kilda - Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice www.compassandfork.com
St Kilda by the bay

But now times have changed and many fish and chip shops have disappeared, primarily because of the greater range of foods now available as takeaway. Surviving fish and chip shops have had to compete and there is a much healthier emphasis on cooking methods, healthier oils and a higher prevalence of grilled fish. Ingredients offered in fish and chip shops have also become more gourmet. Think scallop skewers, healthy salads, light beer batters and a greater range of fish to cook.

Now a visit to a fish and chip shop has become a real gourmet experience. Melbourne fish and chips are good and if you want to experience some of the better offerings, the Herald-Sun (a local Melbourne newspaper) nominates some of the best to try.

A good place to enjoy fish and chips and get a sea view as well is to go to St Kilda. It is certainly an eclectic place and has maybe the best footpath dining in Melbourne. Both Acland Street and Fitzroy Street have brilliantly wide footpaths where you can enjoy some of that el-fresco dining while you people watch in one of the best places in Australia to people watch!

Seafood Delicacies in Melbourne

Queen Vic Market - Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice www.compassandfork.comFrom humble beginnings, seafood consumption has really matured in Melbourne. Melbourne is a fabulous market city. There are numerous major markets all around Melbourne and its suburbs. The Queen Victoria market and South Melbourne market (both close to the CBD) are particularly good for seafood.

Some of the more popular, local fish include Flathead, Flake, King George Whiting, Snapper, Calamari and Rock Lobster (a highlight). Shellfish is also extremely popular, including Scallops, Prawns, and Mussels.

It’s not just the home cook embracing seafood but restaurants and cafes as well. Given Melbourne’s large, multi-cultural population, there is no shortage of seafood styles to try. Spanish, Greek, Moroccan, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese methods are all very popular.

It’s no wonder it is hard to define “Australian-style” cooking. Australia is a young country with many different cultural influences. But to me this grilled seafood salad recipe is a great representation of Australian cooking, el-fresco style and perfect for the Australian climate.

November is Melbourne month. To read more about Melbourne and its cuisine, try here:

 

Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice www.compassandfork.com

 

Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice www.compassandfork.com
Ready to Eat - Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice www.compassandfork.com
Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice
Print Recipe
Print Recipe
This easy to make, healthy seafood salad is a little bit gourmet. It serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main dish. Light, vibrant and full of color and crunch. The recipe calls for prawns and calamari but scallops are also brilliant. Any combination of these 3 ingredients will work.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
4people 5minutes 45minutes 30minutes
Servings Prep Time
4people 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45minutes 30minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Bring stock to the boil in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Rinse wild rice and add to the stock. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until rice is tender (consult the pack instructions as cooking times can vary). When cooked, allow to sit for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.Ingredients - Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice www.compassandfork.com
  2. Meanwhile, broil/grill the prawns and calamari under high heat. 2 or 3 minutes each side is plenty.
  3. Meanwhile stir fry the snow peas with dash of sesame oil over high heat.
  4. When the rice, shellfish and snow peas are cool, place in a bowl. Add the spinach, red onion, and bell bell pepper. Toss well to combine. Make the dressing and add to the salad. Toss well again. Carefully add the sliced avocado and serve.
Recipe Notes

With a Glass of Wine - Colorful Grilled Seafood Salad with Wild Rice www.compassandfork.com

And please help us spread the word via social media, we certainly appreciate it!

17 Responses

  1. Such a wonderful bowl full of green goodness coupled with seafood. I’m not overly enthusiast about calamari but would love to give it another try again.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Charlene, the secret with calamari is to find it fresh if not it can be really rubbery (which tastes nothing like fresh calamari!)

  2. Lyndsay
    | Reply

    I’d love to visit Melbourne one day. There’s nothing like fresh seafood. I live smack dab in the middle of Canada, it’s a 30 hour drive either way to the ocean, so we don’t get a lot of fresh seafood here. When we do have it, it’s a real treat. This grilled seafood salad looks so colourful and delicious. Thanks for sharing

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Hi Lyndsay. We do like our seafood. I am sure though that living in the middle of Canada does have other great advantages though. It’s been a while since I was last in Canada, so need to go back there. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Tamara Andersen
    | Reply

    Interesting post, and such a lovely recipe!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Thanks Tamara. How seafood has changed over the years.

  4. Such an informative post and deliciously fresh salad. I love seafood!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Yes hard to beat grilled seafood. Great for al fresco entertaining. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Ange
    | Reply

    You have me reminiscing about Friday nights when I was a kid!

    We still have a few Fish n Chip shops out in the Eastern suburbs – but they don’t taste the same and the potato cakes are too thin. An old fashioned British style chippy opened in our area recently and it’s really good!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Hi Ange, it does bring bring back some memories. The fish and chip shops used to be packed on Fridays. Mum gave me 20 cents to catch the bus home after school. The fare was 16 cents and I used the remaining 4 cents to buy 2 potato cakes! They were the days. Thanks for your comment….Mark

  6. Chris
    | Reply

    Now I am craving fresh seafood!!! This looks delicious!!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Yes I like the fact there is a little bit of everything in this dish. Thanks for your comment Chris.

    • Editor
      | Reply

      Yes I like the fact there is a little bit of everything in this dish. Thanks for your comment Chris.

  7. Germaine
    | Reply

    Good, clean, wholesome! What’s not to love?

    • Editor
      | Reply

      That’s what I think too. This style of food has a light touch. Thanks for your comment.

  8. swayam
    | Reply

    Loved reading the post..and kind of a perfect seafood recipe!

    • Editor
      | Reply

      It is such a beautiful salad. So glad you enjoyed it.

Leave a Reply