This is a great pasta salad that takes advantage of all the fresh herbs available in summer.
The seafood makes it a bit lighter and the lemon top notes makes it nice and fresh tasting. The sweetness of the shrimp and crab meat with the creamy mayonnaise dressing set the tone.
Add fresh herbs and saffron underpinnings and you have taken it from the everyday to the excellent.
Crunchy celery contrasts with the creaminess and adds freshness.
- Use the best quality shrimp and crab meat you can source. Precooked, deveined, tail off shrimp make this salad really easy to throw together.
- You can vary the herbs if you like but I would not suggest you substitute dried for the fresh ones here. Thisis a great summer recipe when your herb planter is going full. Parsley is readily available so you could substitute parsley for one of the herbs.
Seafood is pretty delicate as far as storage is concerned. The salad tastes best if it had 60 minutes to meld the flavours. Leftovers would be okay the next day but I wouldn't keep it any longer than that.
Wine Pairing for Shrimp Saffron Pasta Salad
I would serve this with a Muscadet Sevre et Main or a dry Rosé. A light unoaked Chardonnay would work as well.
A white Grenache (or blend) that is rich and round would also be a nice choice.
On the red spectrum you would have to keep it very light - think Valpolicella or Beaujolais.
Creamy Seafood Pasta Salad
Shrimp Saffron Pasta Salad
- 12 oz penne pasta or other curly shape that will hold the dressing
- salt for pasta water
- ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
- 6+1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (divided)
- 3+1 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup green onions in thin slices
- 3 Tbsps drained capers
- 2 Tbsps fresh tarragon minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 lb cooked, cleaned medium shrimp
- 1 cup celery finely diced
- ½ lb lump crab meat drained
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- additional lemon wedges for serving
- Cook pasta according to pasta instructions. Drain pasta and reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Toss drained pasta in a bowl with 1 tablespoon each olive oil and lemon juice. Let pasta stand at room temperature until cool. Stir once in a while to prevent sticking.
- Sprinkle the saffron threads over 3 Tbsps of the reserved cooking liquid. Let it stand at room temperature 5 minutes.
- Combine mayonnaise, onions, capers, tarragon, dill, sugar, remaining lemon juice and olive oil with the saffron liquid. Whisk till well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mix dressing into the pasta. Add the shrimp and the celery. If the mix is dry add more of the reserved cooking water. Stir in crab meat and toss gently.
- Refrigerate at least one hour. Serve with additional lemon wedges.