It’s the dog days of summer in the northern hemisphere. For those of you reading outside the U.S., the dog days of summer is what we Americans describe as the hottest days of summer. But it turns out that the saying has Greek and Roman origins.
According to Wikipedia:
The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term “Dog Days” was used earlier by the Greeks.
The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise (heliacal rising), which is no longer true, owing to precession of the equinoxes. The Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time “when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, Quinto raged in anger, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813.
The modern French term for both this summer period (and for heat waves in general) “canicule”, derives from this same term. It means “little dog”, again referring to Sirius.
Well, enough about dog days. Talk about boiling seas. When it’s so hot out, who wants a searing hot meal? How about something to help you chill out?
For August, a group of food bloggers from around the world who use the #letslunch hashtag on Twitter decided to offer up cold entrées for their readers.
So here’s our unique twist that’s an Asian fusion mashup of seafood salad from Oregon. Home-cured Columbia River salmon roe takes it over the top. Our friend gave the dish the name Seafood Napoleon because it’s served in layers like the French Napoleon desserts.
If you’d like to start your cool meal off with a cool summer soup, try our Golden Gazpacho that’s sure to refresh. Click here for the recipe.
And now on to our Seafood Napoleon.
- One pound (454 g.) large shrimp, boiled, peeled, sliced into chunks and chilled
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) oil
- ¼ pound (113 g.) albacore tuna steak
- 1 cup (240 ml.) mayonnaise
- ¼ cup (60 ml.) roasted red peppers finely chopped (you can find these in jars in the vegetable aisle if you don’t want the hassle of roasting the peppers yourself)
- ¼ cup (60 ml.) sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) catsup
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) Sriracha chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) Dijon mustard
- 1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- Steamed white rice, about a cup per person
- 8 tablespoons (120 ml.) salmon roe for garnish (click here to read Charles’ post on home-curing salmon roe)
- Chopped chives for garnish
- Place the chilled shrimp pieces in a bowl.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and sear each side of the albacore steak for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cut into cubes and place into bowl with shrimp.
- In another bowl, make dressing by combining mayonnaise, chopped roasted red peppers, relish, catsup, Sriracha, mustard, scallions and chopped egg. Whisk until thoroughly mixed.
- Add 1 cup (240 ml.) of the dressing to the seafood. The rest can be saved to use with salads for the next week as long as you refrigerate it in a sealed container.
- Toss the seafood so that it’s thoroughly coated with dressing, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- When ready to serve, use a large mold or round cookie cutter and place in the center of a dinner plate, spoon rice into the cookie cutter and pack tightly. Then gently lift the cookie cutter, leaving a nice round rice pilaf. Place the cookie cutter on top of the rice and spoon the seafood mixture, gently packing it into the cookie cutter. Gently lift the cookie cutter so that the seafood maintains the same round shape on top of the rice pilaf. Top with 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) of cured salmon roe and sprinkle with chopped chives.
Please read other cold entrée contributions from our Let’s Lunch Bunch
Rebecca’s Rack of Lamb with Mustard and Rosemary at GrogarBlog
Eleanor’s Colorful Cold Entrée at Be a Wok Star
Mia’s Strawberry Soup at Cooking in the Fruit Bowl
Linda’s Gaspacho Rolls at Free Range Cookies Blog
Maria’s Croque Monsieur with Cheese Bechamel at Maria’s Good Things
Cheryl’s Spicy Sichuan Sesame Noodles at A Tiger in the Kitchen
Cathy’s Jasmine Tea Poached Shrimp Summer Rolls at ShowFood Chef
Rashda’s Gazpacho with an Indian Twist at Hot Curries & Cold Beer
Danielle’s Cous Cous with Cilantro Pesto at Beyond the Plate
Charles’ Cold Olive Oil Poached Chicken Salad