This 15-minute recipe makes an easy, quick, delicious meal out of frozen seafood mix.
The creamy sauce is made with heavy cream, garlic, and parmesan. It's delicious. Your only task as a chef is to avoid overcooking the dish!
I have quite a few fish and seafood recipes on this site, but I am always on the lookout for more interesting recipes. This one is a keeper - it's so easy to make and it's delicious.
If you happen to have a bag or two of frozen seafood mix in your freezer (mine came from Trader Joe's), this recipe is a great way to turn them into an easy, delicious meal. We had it for lunch this weekend with steamed broccoli and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Perfection!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Frozen seafood mix: The one I like to use has shrimp, calamari rings, and bay scallops. I get it at Trader Joe's:
Butter: I love Kerrygold butter, but any butter will work.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty
Minced garlic: Please use freshly minced garlic cloves. The garlic is very important here and jarred minced garlic won't be the same.
Heavy cream and parmesan: These are the creamy ingredients that make the amazing sauce. Make sure to use dry-grated parmesan and not coarsely shredded.
Cayenne pepper: Just a pinch to add a subtle hint of spice. You can skip it if you wish.
Parsley: Used purely for garnish. You can skip it if you wish.
Making this seafood mix recipe is so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Defrost: Place the frozen seafood in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cool water. Allow it to defrost for about 5 minutes, stirring gently to separate the pieces, and replacing the water once during the process. Place the pieces on a clean kitchen towel or on paper towels to dry.
Saute: Season the seafood with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add the seafood and cook just until opaque, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook it, or it could become tough and gummy. Remove to a plate, drain the skillet and wipe it dry.
Make the sauce: In the same skillet, cook garlic over medium heat. Add the cream, cayenne, and more salt and pepper. Then add the parmesan, stirring until it melts. You now have a beautiful creamy sauce.
Finish the dish: Add the seafood back to the skillet and stir it into the sauce. Serve the dish garnished with chopped parsley.
In a previous version of this recipe, I used to simply sauté the seafood in olive oil and spices. But I have found that it releases quite a bit of water into the skillet, so that it ends up steaming rather than sautéing, and some of the spices are lost in the liquids released into the pan.
So now my favorite method is to sauté it in some butter, drain the liquids, then make a quick cream-parmesan sauce and add the seafood to the creamy sauce. This is AMAZING. So delicate and creamy as long as you take care not to overcook it.
Frequently asked questions
Generally, the answer is yes, though you'll need to cook it for a longer time and ensure it's fully cooked.
But in this particular recipe, I do recommend that you defrost it first. Otherwise, the pieces won’t cook uniformly.
I find that one of the easiest ways to do that is to keep frozen fish and seafood in the freezer. Whether a mix such as the one used here, bags of shrimp, scallops, or salmon fillets, it's a convenient way to always have it available.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can use olive oil instead of butter. I must admit, though, butter tastes really good in this recipe!
- Change up the spices you use. A pinch of dried thyme is very good in this recipe.
- You can sprinkle the finished dish with bacon bits prior to serving it.
I also like to serve it on top of raw spinach or arugula leaves. The warm sauce wilts the leaves just enough to very lightly cook them.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 3 days. Reheat them very gently, though. It's best to use the microwave on 50% power and to reheat them covered.
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Seafood Mix In Cream Sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 lb. frozen seafood mix thawed*
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt divided
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper divided
- 4 garlic cloves minced**
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- Pinch cayenne
- 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese dry-grated
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- Heat one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the seafood with half the kosher salt and black pepper.
- When the butter starts foaming, add the seafood to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until just cooked through and no longer translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the seafood to a plate, cover with foil, and set aside.
- Pour the liquids out of the skillet, wipe it clean with paper towels (careful, it’s hot), and add the remaining butter. Reduce the heat to medium.
- When the butter starts foaming, add the garlic to the skillet. Sauté, stirring, until fragrant, 30-60 seconds, depending on how hot your skillet is.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cream, the cayenne pepper, and the remaining kosher salt and black pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring. This should take about 1 minute.
- Add the Parmesan cheese and gently stir until melted, about 30 seconds.
- Add the seafood back to the skillet. Gently stir to combine with the sauce and to reheat, about 1 more minute. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.