Keeping Your Cool

Take a break from a hot kitchen with no-cook seafood.
By Julia Dowling Rutland

If all you want to do this summer is chill out, then heating up your stove to make dinner isn't going to help. To keep the sweltering temperatures outside, consider no-cook seafood dishes. The bonus? Quick and easy preparation.

For a variation, substitute leftover seafood. Salmon or scallops are good types to try in these dishes. When cooking and freezing fish and shellfish for later use, remember these tips.

• Start with quality. Freezing never improves marginally fresh foods.

• Cook seafood thoroughly before storing in your refrigerator or freezer. You'll be adding it directly to the other ingredients, so it needs to be done―but don't get carried away. Overcooked fish will fall apart when thawed, and shellfish will feel rubbery.

• Chill quickly. Rinse shrimp and crab with cool water after cooking, then top with ice. If desired, peel and devein the shrimp and dress the crab. Drain well, then freeze in heavy-duty zip-top bags. Air causes freezer burn, so press the bag to remove air pockets, or use a vacuum sealer.

• Thaw seafood overnight in the refrigerator for best results. If short on time, place it in a bowl of cool water for about 30 minutes.

Beat the heat when cooking for friends by choosing recipes that feature limited stove time or precooked ingredients. Try our delicious suggestions below and keep kitchen time quick and cool.

Appetizers
Caribbean Guacamole
Cool Caviar Dip
Iced Almonds
Oysters with Mignonette Ice
Crab-and-Shrimp Gazpacho

Soups
Cool as a Cucumber Soup with Shrimp
Chilled Roasted Pepper-Mango Soup
Cold Avocado Soup

Beverages
Cocktails
Cran-Raspberry Spritzer
Patio Daddy-O Planter's Punch
Sauvignon Blanc Peach Sangria
Ultimate Rum Punch
Watermelon Daiquiri Slush

Non-Alcoholic
Watermelon Aqua
Hibiscus Tea Punch
Sailboat Lemonade
Berry Refresher

Salads
Summer Salad
Chilled Lobster and Asparagus with Shallot-Tarragon Vinaigrette
Grilled Shrimp-Watermelon Salad with Honey-Balsamic Dressing
Iced Scallop Salad

Main
Barbecued Shrimp
Chilled Cracked Dungeness Crab with Sea Salt Butter and Ginger Mayonnaise
Grilled Lobster Kabobs
Veggie Wraps

Dessert
Baby Pineapples Filled with Pineapple Sherbet
Coffee Can Ice Cream
Frozen Strawberry Shortcake
Chilled Georgia Peach Soup with Raspberry Cream