Scallops and salmon may be a bit sophisticated for some younger diners. Developing an appreciation in kids for these healthy, low-fat ingredients adds hundreds of preparations to your menu tool kit. Scallops and salmon cook quickly and lend themselves to sautéing, baking and grilling, making them year-round favorites. Almost any sauce enhances them, and fresh vegetables and simple salads are complementary side dishes.
Scallops and salmon are quick-to-cook ingredients for side dishes or healthy main dishes. They deliver as much protein as a hamburger, but they're much lower in fat. Available fresh, frozen and, in the case of salmon, canned, salmon and scallops cook in a few minutes. Keep seafood in the freezer and thaw it in the fridge the day you plan to use it. If you have access to fresh scallops, cook them the day they're harvested because they die quickly out of the water.
It's easy to overcook scallops and salmon. Cook them on top of the stove in a hot sauté pan with butter and olive oil. Don't be afraid to let the surface take on some color from the butter, but if the butter smokes, take the pan off the burner. Oven cooking and grilling are healthier approaches because they don't add fat. Bake the fish in a medium-high preheated oven in a shallow baking dish. Test for doneness by gently pressing on the thickest part of the fish with your fingertip. The meat should be firm but not rubbery. If you have any doubts, slice open a scallop. It should be opaque.
Salmon and scallops' distinctive flavors add interest to salads and give picky eaters a chance to try a little bit without encountering a whole fillet or a full serving of scallops. Squeeze some lemon over the cooked fish and scallops and dust them with a smidgen of salt and pepper. Combine them with your favorite salad greens, add bottled dressing and toss lightly. Add a twist to the dish with a sprinkling of capers or cashews and serve with a crusty loaf of bread for a light summer meal.
Pour a large can of crushed tomatoes into a bowl and have the kids break up the pieces of tomato with a wooden spoon or old-fashioned potato masher. Add the tomatoes to a pot where you've sautéed onions and garlic. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and add enough low-sodium chicken or seafood broth to make a soup consistency. After the stock has simmered for a while, throw in scallops and cut up salmon. They should be ready in several minutes. Keep the seasonings simple if your kids haven't developed a taste for garlic or onions.