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Wild Alaska Seafood Caesar Salad

Alaska Rockfish with Crispy Rice & Green Bean & Fish Sauce Vinaigrette 5
This twist on a classic Caesar salad uses Alaska pollock roe instead of anchovies in the salad dressing. The roe is also used in an Italian seafood salad and mixed with garlic on toast.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Servings: 4


  • 1 whole head garlic, plus 2 large cloves finely chopped plus 3 large cloves crushed
  • 4 (5 inch long by 1/2-inch-thick) focaccia bread slices
  • 1 medium head romaine, leaves separated
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Cheese cloth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Several thyme sprigs
  • 1 small shallot, halved (or several leek greens)
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • Butcher twine
  • 1 small fillet wild Alaska pollock, thawed (if needed)
  • 4 wild Alaska weathervane scallops, thawed (if needed)
  • Wild Alaska snow crab meat, picked from 1 crab section, about 1/3 cup, thawed ( if needed)
  • 5 skeins wild Alaska pollock roe (mentaiko), thawed ( if needed)
  • 1/3 fennel bulb, shaved (or cut very thinly)
  • 2 small radishes, sliced thinly
  • 1 scallion, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup Italian parsley leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives, quartered
  • Coarse sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Recipe courtesy of Chef Vitaly Paley


  1. Step 1 Read the chef's notes

    It makes absolute sense to me to treat wild Alaska pollock roe as one would treat anchovies. This idea opens a wide range of possibilities and makes it easier for the un-indoctrinated to try it. Using this logic in this recipe for Alaska Seafood Caesar I use Pollock roe or Mentaiko as it’s called in Japan, in a variety of familiar ways: as part of classic Italian seafood salad and mixed with roasted garlic on a toast.  But the one I am truly excited about is adding it to a Caesar dressing instead of customary anchovies. Go ahead and give it a go. I know you too will enjoy this fresh new take on Caesar salad.

    – Chef Vitaly Paley

  2. Step 2 Heat oven

    Preheat oven to 375*F


  3. Step 3 Prepare roe and garlic

    Wrap whole garlic head in foil; oven roast until soft and done, about 45 minutes. Unwrap; set aside to cool. When cool, halve garlic head crosswise, then squeeze softened garlic from halves into small bowl. On a cutting board, slice open 1 skein of mentaiko, lengthwise, then scrape roe into roasted garlic bowl. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil then fork-mash all. Set aside.

  4. Step 4 Prepare focaccia

    Toast focaccia slices on baking sheet until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

  5. Step 5 Prepare dressing

    In big mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cloves of chopped garlic, egg yolk, Dijon mustard. and Parmesan. To emulsify, slowly drizzle in ½ cup olive oil while whisking. On a cutting board slice open 2 skeins of pollock roe (mentaiko)  then scrape roe into the bowl with emulsion. Pour in the juice of 1 lemon. Stir until all is incorporated. If the dressing is too thick to pour, add a few drops of cold water. Transfer dressing into a small pitcher; refrigerate until serving.

  6. Step 6 Make poaching liquid

    To make seafood poaching liquid, pour white wine and water into medium size soup pot; season with salt. On a clean kitchen counter, spread out large cheesecloth square. Place bay leaf, thyme, shallot, remaining 3 garlic cloves, and black peppercorns on top.  Gather 4 corners of cloth; tie securely with butcher twine. Place cheesecloth sachet into the soup pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat to simmer; cook 10 minutes.

  7. Step 7 Cook seafood

    While the liquid is simmering, add in pollock fillet. Cook until opaque and done, about 5 minutes. Carefully lift out fillet to drain; cool on a paper towel-lined sheet pan. Place scallops into poaching liquid; cook until opaque and medium done, about 3 minutes. Remove scallops, transferring to same sheet pan. Repeat the process with 2 remaining skeins of pollock roe but cook slightly less just to harden outer membrane, about 2 minutes. Place on same sheet pan to cool. When all seafood is cooked, discard herb sachet and strain. (Cool and save liquid for another use, if desired.)

    When seafood is cool enough to handle, transfer into a bowl large enough to make the seafood salad. Flake cooked pollock into large chunks, and quarter scallops. Add in pollock roe (mentaiko), sliced into thin 1/8-inch rounds. Add in the crab, fennel, radish, green onion, parsley and olives. Season with remaining lemon juice and olive oil. Season generously with sea salt and ground pepper. Mix all gently.

  8. Step 8 Assemble and serve

    To serve, place 4 to 5 leaves of romaine on each of 4 plates. Spoon on some Caesar dressing. (Don’t be shy, more is better in this case.) Add spoonfuls of seafood salad, dividing it evenly among 4 plates. Serve immediately. Serve toasts and pollock/mentaiko mixture for spreading.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Vitaly Paley