Can't stand the heat? Get out of the kitchen faster with these cool recipes.

By Susan C. Kim
June 05, 2006
Jean Allsopp

Today's weather report promises blue skies, and the swells are calling your name. But with a crew to feed this afternoon, what's a beach bum to do? Here's your ticket out of a hot kitchen: no-fuss seafood salads you can throw together in minutes.

Our version of a classic Maryland favorite lets you have your crab cake―and salad, too. We replace time-consuming patties with a zesty crab salad served over mixed greens. Top with Japanese panko, which is crispier and lighter than regular breadcrumbs, and each bite will conjure the nostalgia of crab feasts on picnic tables, but without all the mess.

Fly your taste buds to Southeast Asia with our seared-tuna salad. Prepare the coconut-lime dressing in advance (the fish sauce can be found in well-stocked supermarkets or Asian groceries). A few minutes before serving, toss greens with the dressing and add toasted tortilla strips, avocado slices, and seared tuna steaks. While this dish requires minimal cooking skills, the complex flavors will please even the pickiest guest.

Prefer to go leafless? Our Italian-style mélange of shrimp, scallops, and calamari cooks ultra fast. Toss with pitted olives, tomatoes, fennel, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar; you'll need only a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices.

To complete your escape plan, Jill Gubesch, wine director for Topolobampo and Frontera Grill in Chicago, matched vino with each recipe. Go ahead, hit the sand. You can thank us later.

―Recipes developed by David Bonom and Marge Perry