06/03/2011 10:05 am ET Updated Aug 03, 2011

Summer Seafood Panache


Photo by David Bishop

Having grown up next to the ocean, seafood has always been a joy in my life. Whether it was waking before dawn to go crabbing with family, cracking the spiced steamed crustaceans on a newspaper-covered table, rendering each other covered with tidbits of salty deliciousness, or romping at communal gatherings sampling grilled clams and assorted fish, salad and corn, the memories tickle the cockles of my heart.

Throughout the years, I've had the pleasure to sample many cultural variations of seafood surprises; sushi, ceviche, shrimp and crab cocktails, pan roasts and paella, raw oysters and blackened bass, curries and croquettes. When creating seafood recipes, the freshest, most seasonal ingredients are my first choice. The rendition pictured here employs octopus, shrimp, calamari, scallop, and lump blue claw crab meat, paired with avocado, orange bits and Tobiko. You can use what ever seafood you like, just be careful to not overcook it, leaving it dry and rubbery. The secret to this refreshing, light and snappy repast is the orange juice-based marinade. The acid in the citrus and vinegar will finish cooking the flesh even if it is under cooked.

For seafood lovers, this yummy cool cocktail is just what the doctor ordered.

Whisk together:

* 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
* 1/4 cup light olive oil
* 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
* 1/8 cup Tobiko (flying fish eggs, found at Japanese restaurants or grocery stores)
* 1 Tablespoon finely minced red or yellow onion
* 1 Teaspoon finely minced fresh jalapeno pepper
* 1/4 Teaspoon ground or crushed red pepper
* 1/8 Teaspoon ground tarragon, or 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh, optional
* 1/8 Teaspoon ground cilantro, or 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh, optional
* Sea salt to taste

Marinate for at least an hour. It will keep in the refrigerator for days. Serve in martini glasses. Garnish with pea shoots.

Check out my first blog at Secrets of a Food Stylist- The Art of Making Food Beautiful