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"Around the world" dinner with seafood only

I'm hosting a dinner party for a friend's birthday. She eats limited seafood - basically shrimp, shelled crab and salmon.

I like doing ethnic themes, but am having a hard time here, especially given her very American cake request, so I've been thinking about doing an "around the world" dinner. I also have a tiny kitchen, so a lot needs to be done ahead of time so that I don't run out of counter space, and so that I can enjoy the party, too.

My two current options: Madhur Jaffrey's garlic and ginger shrimp on toothpicks, crab cocktail with avocado, tomatoes, etc. (which I'll be winging, if anyone has any suggestions about), and salmon pasta with dill, lemon and vodka sauce. I'm really comfortable with this, plus the salmon gets pre-cooked, which avoids stinky salmon apartment and avoids me screwing up the fillets, since I don't like salmon and never cook it. But it's not very "around the world" friendly.

Second option: salmon spring rolls, same crab cocktail, and a Madhur Jaffrey shrimp dinner, TBD.

Which sounds better? Can you think of better options? And can anyone advise on the crab cocktail? I'm pictured it layered, with veggies on bottom, crab tossed with lime, chile, etc. on top. And I'd love a better salmon appetizer idea if I go that route. I really don't want to be searing salmon filets for dinner, FYI. I'm sure there are lots of great recipes, but it keeps me in the kitchen and I really don't have much salmon filet experience.


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  1. what about a salmon teriyaki?

    1. Spinach and salmon quiche. Could even be made with canned salmon. Small wedges for an appetizer.

      Edit: Not very around-the-world, though.

      1. Medley of Sashimi and an assortment of Sushi with a nice Sake (or other white wine)

        1. How about:
          Tomatoes stuffed with crabmeat
          Poached whole salmon (v. easy, but looks impressive, and can be cooked in advance), with baby new potatoes and asparagus.

          Personally, I would avoid mixing too many ethnic styles in one dinner, but that's just me. If you want something spicy, how about Thai crabcakes?

          1 Reply
          1. re: greedygirl

            This is a great menu because it can all be done in advance except to stuff the tomatoes at the last minute. If you use small tomatoes you could also add a grilled/skewered shrimp starter also - again done in advance. There was a recent thread on poached salmon.

          2. Ha Gow - Chinese Shrimp Toast appetizers with a soy/ginger dipping sauce.

            Caribbean Basil Mango Shrimp Cocktail/Salad

            Pacific Northwest Baked Salmon with Dill Entree
            Classic Maryland Crabcakes Entree with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
            and Ginger-Orange Glazed Carrot Ribbons

            For dessert make Bobby Flay's White Gaspacho.

            1. how about
              crab spring rolls,
              Hanoi Shrimp Cakes (a shrimp and sweet potato fritter)
              from Mai Pham's Peasures of the Vietnamese Table
              2 minute Sicilian Lifeguard Squid (from Mario Batali)
              capers, currants, chililflakes, squid in red sauce and Israeli couscous

              1 Reply
              1. re: pitu

                Not sure if my newly fish-eating former vegetarian is ready for squid, but I may have to save that one for myself! The others sound good, though. I'm basically going to do one course of salmon, one of shrimp, one of crab, it's just trying to figure out what and in what order. I really like your first two suggestions. Thanks!

              2. Regarding the crab cocktail, I have often had shrimp cocktail served in an avocado half in Mexico. You could make a Crab Louis dressing and toss the crab and serve in avocados.

                I personally love the idea of a shrimp curry(Madhur Jaffrey) served over basmati.

                As for the salmon, the only downside of springrolls is that if you are deep frying, they will certainly smell up the apartment

                If you want to try a different, non smelly twist on salmon, you might try homemade gravlox.

                2 Replies
                1. re: salsailsa

                  I was actually thinking I'd pre-fry the spring rolls and warm them in a hot oven - though that would probably still cause the stinkiness. I've done it well with pork lumpia, but that doesn't have the smelly issues.

                  Service in the avocado shell is a nice idea. And that's one vote for the shrimp curry. I'm definitely not yet decided, if you can't all tell. I've gone through my entire magazine and cookbook collection and keep changing my mind.

                  1. re: salsailsa

                    I had a faaabulous shrimp curry recently, made with cucumber of all things!
                    Recipe was from the book 'Thai food' by David Thompson

                  2. How about ...

                    Filet-O-Fish (American)
                    Fish & Chips (British)
                    Fish Tacos (Mexican)

                    1. I do this seafood mango avacado tower salad (see pic) that is delish and pretty.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: lexpatti

                        That's pretty much what I was planning for the cocktail! What do you use for the dressing? I was picturing lime juice, cilantro, honey, jalapenos...

                        1. re: katecm

                          mine doesn't have a dressing, each layer has it's own flavor but lime juice, cilantro and heat are throughout so your dressing sounds wonderful.

                          sounds like a great theme party

                      2. sorry, here's the pic:

                        Also, I've done a nice crab citrus salsa in those phyllo cups - very refreshing too.

                        1. I love a warm crab dip with toast points.
                          Shrimp quesdillas?
                          salmon croquettes?

                          1. salmon ceviche, crab cakes with remoulade, shrimp with olives, garlic, capers, feta and tomatoes, over rice or orzo. you could pre-make the starch and make it into a room temp salad with lemony vinaigrette.

                            i'm not a fan of reheated spring rolls --they lose that snappy crisp. but you can par-cook the crab cakes with no issue.