Polenta-crusted seafood platter is a fancy weeknight feast

Mar 16, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. ET

Seafood dishes might seem tricky to put together, but in reality they are so simple and so tasty.

When I was growing up, my mom made sure we had seafood on the table at least once a week, and I make sure I continue this healthy practice in my own home too. Sometimes it's just one kind; other times I splurge and buy all different kinds of seafood for a feast. I guess in any part of the world, seafood is costly, so we want to make sure the recipes we cook are proven good, or else the food goes to waste. What I've learned from dealing with seafood is that the simpler way you cook it, the better it will be.

Seafood mix with fried mixed barley and garlic lime sauce

In this dish, the seafood is simply coated with polenta, which gives it a coarser texture than does regular flour (use flour if you don't want the texture), and fried until golden brown. It's then drizzled with a very tasty sauce of lime and garlic. Fried barley cooked with a base of clam sauce and vegetable broth completes this dish with great flavors.

Seafood mix with fried mixed barley and garlic lime sauce 2

I prefer to buy fresh seafood in the morning so I will have the time to prepare everything within the day, whether it is for lunch or dinner, and am not so rushed putting together the meal.

Seafood mix with fried barley and garlic-lime sauce recipe

The seafood is coated with polenta for a coarser texture, then simply fried until golden and drizzled with a very tasty garlic-lime sauce. This platter is accompanied by an equally tasty fried barley mixture with a base of clam sauce and vegetable broth.

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound clams, purged and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup uncooked barley
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup polenta flour or regular flour, for coating
  • 1 (8 ounce) slice salmon, sliced
  • 4 medium squid, cleaned and sliced
  • 12 pieces medium to large shrimp, deveined and shelled
  • 8 pieces small red mullet or any kind of small fish
  • 1/2 cup sunflower, peanut or any kind of oil fit for frying


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, the lime zest and juice, the dried oregano, parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Adjust the amount of salt and lime to taste. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan with olive oil over medium heat, sauté the remaining garlic until it becomes golden, and then add the clams.
  3. Cook the clams for about 7 minutes, and then pour the wine into the pan. Let the liquid evaporate by half. Sprinkle in the parsley and some pepper. Don't add salt, because clams are already naturally salty. Discard the clams that did not open, transfer the cooked ones (leaving the liquid behind) to a plate, and cover to keep them warm.
  4. To the same saucepan over medium heat, add the barley, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until the broth dries up. If the barley is drying up before it becomes tender, gradually pour in some water. Don't pour in too much at a time, because the barley has to dry up when it is already tender.
  5. When the barley is tender and has dried up, pour in some oil, and stir well. Season with pepper and salt if still needed. Set aside, and cover to keep warm.
  6. While waiting for the barley to cook, in a bowl, pour the polenta or flour, and coat the seafood in batches. Shake off the excess.
  7. In a hot saucepan with the sunflower oil over medium to high heat, fry the seafood in batches. When cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to remove the excess oil. Sprinkle with some salt.
  8. Serve the barley and seafood together, and pour the sauce over the seafood when ready to eat.

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