Best Seafood Wrappers (besides bacon)
Variety is the spice of life, as they say. So, why not experiment with some delicious alternatives and remix some tasty classics?
Now, this is in no way ‘putting down’ bacon as a wrapping. I could kiss whoever invented the bacon wrapped scallop. This is simply an exploration of wrap-able additions, acknowledging bacon as the gateway wrapper, and graduating on to even more scrumptious levels.
Keeping it Meaty
Humor me as I take you through a bit of my ‘other seafood wrappers’ thought process…What makes bacon wrapped scallops, shrimp, and the like, so tasty is that smoky, salty, unctuous quality of bacon. Also, wrapping delicate (and often, susceptible to overcooking) seafood in a hearty outer covering would also protect it as well as elevate the flavor. So, if bacon is the grandaddy of seafood wraps, why not try out other meaty cured meats?
Prosciutto, Jambon, and Speck all have those salty unctuous notes we love with bacon. Speck (smoked prosciutto) can even provide that smoky element. Given that these items are each coveted charcuteries, using them as a wrapping would, in theory, elevate the simple wrapped seafood into a very classy status. I like it!
Using that same logic, I would venture a tasty guess that spicy cured meats would work well too. Adding spicy capicola to the list!
Puff Pastry and Phyllo Dough
Are you like me and that any time you’re at a cocktail party you just can not pass up those pastry-themed appetizers? Mini puff pastry bites or puffy beef wellingtons, or those perfectly triangular phyllo covered spanakopita…yum.
So, that got me thinking… Why not wrap seafood in puff pastry or phyllo dough? Phyllo dough can add a little crispy element, especially is you use the kataifi, or shredded, phyllo dough. Both phyllo and puff also allows for the addition of outside ingredients; herbs, veggies, sauces, compound butters, etc… Securely wrapping and, simultaneously, seasoning the seafood while cooking!
Our other two contenders, cured meats and pastry, while delicious, are not necessarily the healthiest of seafood wrapping options. The first two are perfectly fine for special occasions but what if you’re into a more, everyday, wrap?…
That’s where vegetables come in. Thinly sliced ribbons of fresh veggies wrapped around our seafood favorites. The alternative veggie trend is still in full swing; veggie noodles, veggie rice, veggie dips, veggie mash, etc… Logical seafood wrap option #3.
There are a class of veggies that would accomplish the wrap job well. Think long thin slices of squash (zucchini, yellow squash, butternut, etc…), marinated in a tangy, garlicky vinaigrette. Or, all sorts of root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, etc…), thinly sliced and brushed with bbq sauce or an herbaceous butter.
I know I’m certainly hungry…and ready to wrap me some seafood!
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About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron’s Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.