Upgrade Your Seafood Platter with These 3 Easy Sauces
If you've ever wanted to pull off a showstopping chilled seafood platter at home, this episode of Mad Genius is for you. Food & Wine Culinary Director at Large Justin Chapple walks through the process step by step, from picking the platter itself to piling on all. that. seafood. Think lobster tails and meaty Jonah crab claws—the end result is a stunning dish that's perfect for a special occasion, or whenever you want seafood, really.
"A big platter of chilled seafood is celebratory, it's impressive, and it's a lot easier to put together than you think," he says.
Read on to find out how to make each sauce and follow along with the video above.
Assemble The Platter
Feel free to fill your seafood platter with whatever you like. Here, Justin opts for all shellfish, grabbing cocktail lobster tails (which were cut in half lengthwise after being steamed), already-cracked Jonah crab claws, steamed large shrimp, and finally, oysters on the half shell. For the platter, he recommends using either a half sheet pan for a bigger crowd, a quarter sheet pan for two people, or a paella pan, which makes for easy serving thanks to its handles. Don't forget to get crushed ice, so you can fill the platter with it and keep the seafood cold.
Green Cocktail Sauce
The first sauce Justin prepares is his refreshing, spicy Green Cocktail Sauce, a twist on classic cocktail sauce that goes perfectly with shrimp. Grab tomatillos (husked, rinsed, and quartered), cilantro, drained prepared horseradish, green hot sauce, kosher salt, and pepper. Add everything except the salt and pepper to a food processor and puree until the sauce is almost smooth. Then, transfer the sauce to a bowl, stir in the salt and pepper, and let it sit, covered, in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until it's chilled. If you'd like, you can easily make the sauce ahead of time—it keeps in the fridge for up to one week.
This mayonnaise is the only sauce here that requires more than one step, but it's well worth it. Start by frying stemmed, seeded, and chopped guajillo chiles in extra-virgin olive oil until they're fragrant and the color deepens—this will take about 30 seconds over moderate heat. Then remove them from the heat and let them cool completely.
Once the chiles are cooled, add them and the oil along with the mayonnaise to a food processor and puree until the mixture is nearly smooth. Scrape the mayonnaise into a bowl, season it with kosher salt and pepper, and voila—you're all set to eat. This smoky, spicy sauce would pair well with the lobster and crab, Justin notes. It can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Option number three is this tangy, sweet mignonette, which has crisp textural elements thanks to minced cucumber and apple. All you need is a medium bowl and a whisk: Combine the Champagne vinegar, minced Pink Lady (or Honeycrisp) apple, minced Persian cucumber, minced chives, and coarsely ground white pepper in the bowl and whisk it all together. After a final hit of kosher salt, transfer the mignonette, covered, to a fridge to chill for 30 minutes. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to three days—pair it with the oysters when you're ready to eat.
Once your sauces are done, spoon them into serving bowls and add them to the platter so you can dip to your heart's content.
"Having these really easy, really delicious homemade condiments is going to take any shellfish platter to the next level," Justin says.