Soaked up in a delicious marinade, this Seafood Salad is composed of succulent shrimp, delicate octopus, and colorful vegetables. It’s a perfect meal prep dish as it is easy to make. All comes together in less than 30 minutes, and you can keep it for the week ahead!
What is your image of an exotic meal that can take you to a happy place? If you’re thinking of bright sunshine and pristine beaches, this Seafood Salad with Vinaigrette will do just that.
The brightly colored medley sure looks fancy but the truth is, it could possibly be the easiest seafood you’ll ever make! As it takes less 30 minutes to throw it together, it’s one of my favorite meal prep recipes. It’s also perfect for a weekend party or a company potluck.
A Sublime Salad of Mediterranean Origin
In Japan, this popular salad is known as Marine (マリネ), pronounced [Ma-Ri-Ne] not a marine as in U.S. Marine. The word Marine (マリネ) comes from the French and English word “marinade,” but in Japan Marine refers to a dish name or the way the dish is prepared, not the vinaigrette marinade itself.
Typically enjoyed as an appetizer with a western-style meal in Japan, the vinaigrette brings out ones appetite before the heavier main dish. Having plenty of seasonal seafood around in Japan, the salad makes a lovely versatile fare to enjoy.
While the salad is best with seafood, it actually extends to a whole range of versions, including vegetarian fare. It may be counterintuitive, a Marine (マリネ) dish can be prepared with just vegetables. The main significance of a marine? Colorful fresh ingredients soaked in a delicious vinegary marinade. Since I included seafood in the recipe, I just named it “Seafood Salad”.
A Perfect Meal Prep Dish
When it comes to meal prep, recipes that require marinating work really well, and this Seafood Salad with Vinaigrette lives up to it.
On your meal prepping day (Sunday), you can prepare the dish (which takes less than 30 minutes) and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat, preferably the next day or two days later (Monday or Tuesday). If you use only vegetables, it can last up to 5-7 days in the fridge!
And if you’re thinking of an appetizer that is fast yet fancy to serve at a party or potluck, you want to include this in your menu too. You can make it ahead of time and don’t need to worry about it turning soggy.
The Basic Vinaigrette/Marinade for Seafood Salad
Typically, the ratio for vinegar to olive oil in a salad is 1:3 or sometimes 1:2. In this recipe, I used 1 part vinegar and 2 parts olive oil as seafood can tolerate more zing, but you can definitely change it up to suit your taste.
For the marinade, you will need the following ingredients (with substitute suggestions):
- Olive oil (vegetable oil, avocado oil, etc)
- Rice wine (white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, apple cider vinegar etc)
- Mirin (sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc) – you will need it to balance out the vinegar
- [Optional] bay leaf, garlic, etc
How to Prepare Seafood for the Salad
As the seafood are the main ingredients in this recipe, it’s important that you prepare it correctly. Here are my tips:
Shrimp is not as clean as you think it is. In Japan, shrimp is commonly rubbed with potato starch (or corn starch) first before rinsing under the water. The slurry texture of starch grabs dirty particles quite well. Give it a try if you’re curious!
Steam the shrimp with some sake in a frying pan for 2-3 minutes, turning once in between. Remaining heat will cook through inside, and it’s best not to overcook.
Boiled octopus sold in Japanese grocery stores is used for sushi and sashimi. If you purchase it from somewhere else, cut a small portion and give it a taste. If it’s too salty, then soak in cold water for 1 minute to de-salt.
Tender squid is so delicious and it goes really well with vinaigrette, and it’s one of my favorite ingredients in my Seafood Salad (even though I didn’t include it today). Just like shrimp, steam the squid in sake until no longer opaque.
If you can get sashimi-grade scallop, use it raw in this Seafood Salad. Before adding it to the marinade, sprinkle some salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes, which release excess moisture and brings out the sweetness of scallop.
If you cannot buy sashimi-grade, then steam it ahead of time before marinading, just like the shrimp and squid.
To Assemble the Seafood Salad
Once the seafood is prepared, you just need to cut up the vegetables and layer all the ingredients nicely in a container or a baking dish. Garnish with your choice of herbs/ spices and place the lemon slices. You can store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat, preferably the next day or two days later.
If the oil is solidified on the surface, take out the dish from the refrigerator a few minutes before you serve and bring it to the room temperature.
Pairing with Sho Chiku Bai PREMIUM GINJO SAKE
We paired the seafood salad with Sho Chiku Bai’s Premium Ginjo Sake. Japanese sake works with many dishes and for this vibrant seafood salad, we wanted a fruity sake that complements the shrimp and octopus as well as the flavorful bell peppers and vegetables.
As you bring the sake glass to your nose, the Premium Ginjo Sake smells floral and clean. At the first sip, the texture is soft and silky and full of summer fruit flavors. After eating the seafood and vegetables and sipping the sake, all the flavors become amplified. Try mixing and matching different vegetables and seafood and the new flavors the sake adds to the food.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
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Seafood Salad with Vinaigrette
- 6 oz shrimp (with shell)
- 4 oz octopus sashimi (boiled octopus)
- 1 stalk celery
- ¼ yellow bell pepper
- ¼ red bell pepper
- ¼ red onion
- 2 inch carrot (5 cm)
- 2 radishes
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 2 sprigs parsley
- ½ lemon
- 1 bay leaf
To cook shrimp
- ⅓ cup sake (I used Sho Chiku Bai Classic Junmai)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- 2 Tbsp mirin (I used Takara Mirin)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ Tbsp juice from cooking shrimp
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare Shrimp
- Devein shrimp if not done so already. Keep the shell on while cooking so the flavors will be kept inside the shell. Sprinkle some potato or corn starch and coat the shrimp. It will absorb the smell and dirty particles from the shrimp. Rinse the shrimp under running water.
- Add ⅓ cup sake in the frying pan and bring it to a boil.
- Add the shrimp in a single layer and cover the lid.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes depending on the size. Turn over half way.
- Once the shrimp is no longer opaque, take it out on a plate and let cool. Save the remaining juice from cooking shrimp in a bowl.
To Make the Marinade
- Combine ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp mirin, 1 tsp salt, freshly ground black pepper, and ½ Tbsp juice from cooking shrimp. Whisk well and taste. Adjust with salt if necessary. Set aside.
To Prepare the Rest of Ingredients
- Thinly slice the boiled octopus as much as you can so it’s less chewy. Cut the celery into smaller pieces.
- Cut the bell peppers into smaller pieces. I like to use Japanese “rangiri” cutting style where you cut the vegetables diagonally as you rotate them 90 degrees. This creates a more unique and random cut, creating more surface space.
- Thinly slice the red onion and carrot. And cut the thin slabs of carrot into halves.
- Thinly slice the red radishes and cut the cherry tomatoes in halves.
- Mince the parsley and thinly slice the lemon.
- Shrimp must be cool by now. Peel the shell and remove the tails.
- Place all the ingredients in a container (I use an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking dish). Add a bay leaf, sprinkle chopped parsley, and place the lemon slices.
- Pour the marinade all over the ingredients.
To Store and Serve
- Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve chilled. To use it as your meal prep menu, the salad can be stored up to two days.