Christmas seafood platter

Feast on mussels, prawns, lobster, scallops and crab legs this Christmas, with City Club sous chef Callum Nugent’s Christmas seafood platter as the centrepiece of your festivities.

With five types of shellfish and a cocktail sauce, this is a feast for seafood lovers. You can buy pre-cooked shellfish or cook each main ingredient yourself. You can also prepare the sauce in advance. On the special day, prepare the crab legs and mussels first, then cook the lobster tail and king prawns. The scallops are quickly pan-fried towards the end. You’ll find a step-by-step cooking guide for each type of seafood below, along with the sauce recipe and instructions on how to serve the platter.



Serves: 6

Cooks in: 1.5 hours

Difficulty: medium to hard

Ingredients

Main
 
  • 3 crab legs (about 1-1.5kg)
  • 8 mussels (about 300g)
  • 3 king prawns
  • 1 lobster tail
  • 3 scallops (about 200g)
  • 1-2 lemons
  • Fresh parsley
Additional
 
You’ll need these ingredients if you’re cooking the seafood yourself rather than buying pre-cooked.
 
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp red long chili, finely chopped
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 3 tbsp of butter or margarine
Cocktail sauce
 
  • 250g tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp brandy
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp creamed horseradish
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp brown sugar

Method

Cocktail sauce
 
This cocktail sauce is simple, quick and tasty. It can be made a day in advance, covered and placed in the fridge.
 
  1. Place all ingredients in a 1-litre jug, and mix using a stick blender.
  2. Once combined, taste and adjust the seasoning, as necessary. If you love Tabasco sauce, add more to taste.
Crab legs
 
You have two choices for crab legs: buy them pre-cooked and avoid doing the preparation yourself, or buy them raw and boil as follows for that tastier option.
 
  1. Take a 6 litre pot and add 5 litres of water, 3 bay leaves, 1 tsp of black peppercorns and 1 crushed garlic clove and bring to the boil.
  2. Using tongs, plunge the crab legs into the boiling water, then place a lid on the pot and maintain a high heat.
  3. Cook the crab legs for 6-8 minutes. They will turn orange in colour.
  4. Remove from the pot with tongs and set aside to cool.
Mussels
 
You again have two choices for your mussels: buy them pre-cooked and simply defrost them; or cook them as follows and make them really delicious.
 
  1. Place a wide-based saucepan (24cm is ideal) on a high heat and add the olive oil.
  2. Once your saucepan is hot, add the mussels, 100ml white wine, 1 tsp of black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 1 garlic clove crushed, 2 tbsp of parsley chopped and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Add the white wine, place the lid on immediately and turn down to a medium heat. Do not remove the lid as this creates the steam for the mussels to cook and open.
  4. After 4-6 minutes, remove the lid and you will see your mussels have opened. Remove from the saucepan and set aside to cool.
King prawns
 
If you buy your king prawns uncooked you can boost the flavour with the following method, but if you are time poor buy cooked prawns from your local fish shop.
 
  1. Prepare each prawn by removing the shell, but keep the head and tail attached.
  2. With a small knife, make a shallow cut along the prawn’s back to remove the intestine track and clean.
  3. In a bowl, combine 1 clove of garlic finely chopped, 1 tsp of chili finely chopped, 1 tsp of parsley finely chopped, 1 tsp of lemon juice and 3 tbsp of olive oil. This is the coating for your prawns.
Only do the following steps when you are ready to serve your platter:
 
  1. Coat the prawns.
  2. Place a medium-sized frypan on a medium to high heat or use a barbecue.
  3. Once the frypan is at a medium heat, quickly fry your prawns until they turn pink.
Lobster tail
 
Either buy a lobster tail cooked and get the fishmonger to cut it in half for you, or buy a fresh or frozen raw lobster tail. If the tail is frozen and uncooked, thaw it in the fridge overnight.
 
  1. You will need a chef’s knife (about 26cm) and a chopping board to prepare the lobster tail.
  2. Place the fresh or thawed lobster tail with its hard shell against the chopping board and chop the tail in half lengthways.
  3. Mix 3 tbsp of butter or margarine, 2 tsp of garlic and 1 tsp of parsley (both finely chopped) in a small ball to create a garlic butter.
The following steps should be done when the platter is about to be served.
 
  1. Melt the garlic butter in a medium-sized pan over a medium heat.
  2. Once the butter starts to sizzle, place your lobster in the pan, flesh side down.
  3. Leave it on the flesh side for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Flip the lobster tail over, and using a spoon, coat the flesh with the melted garlic butter to make sure it gets into the lobster meat.
  5. Place on the platter to serve.
Scallops
 
Either choose scallops with the rose on (the orange bit), which are often small, or larger white scallops. If you buy frozen scallops, place them in the fridge to defrost overnight. The following steps should be done when you are ready to serve the platter.
 
 
  1. Dry the fresh or thawed scallops with a paper towel to minimize any splatter during cooking.
  2. Place a small saucepan on a high heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  3. When the olive oil is hot, place your scallops in the pan very carefully.
  4. After 2 minutes place 1 tbsp of butter in the saucepan and turn the scallops over. The scallop should be golden on one side. If not leave on the heat until it is.
  5. Turn the scallop over and cook for only 30 seconds to warm through the other side.
  6. Take out of the pan and add to the platter.
To serve the platter
 
  1. Have the crab legs and mussels prepared and ready to add to the platter.
  2. Using two medium-sized pans, cook the lobster tail and king prawns separately and at the same time.
  3. Halfway through, start cooking your scallops in a separate small saucepan.
  4. Once all these ingredients are cooked, arrange them nicely on a platter with lemon wedges and parsley.

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