Grilled Seafood Tower

Seafood Tower, Grilling
Grilled Seafood Tower
Besides salt, you can use seaweed or sand to form a bed for any shellfish on the half shell. For a rustic, low-country feel, pile your fish into a multi-tiered galvanized metal server like this one by Benzara.Michael Turek

"Chilled seafood towers are boring," says chef David Ochs of Chicago's soon-to-open Maple & Ash. "I wanted to serve an exceptional marinated grilled seafood tower instead, with that smoky smell that turns heads." After briefly cooking the lobsters, langoustines, and scallops flesh-side down, Ochs finishes them on the shell, which allows the meat to poach gently in its own juices. "Because the shell is taking the brunt of the heat from the grill," says Ochs, "it will char, and that's a good thing. You'll really smell it and get a wonderful smoky flavor."

Grilled Seafood Tower
Typically served raw and chilled, a classic seafood tower tastes even better fresh off the grill.
Yield: serves 10 as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. king crab legs
  • 3 lobsters
  • 6 langoustines
  • 1 dozen clams
  • 1 dozen mussels
  • 1 dozen scallops on the half shell
  • Seaweed Butter, for basting and serving
  • Chile Sauce, for serving
  • 1 tbsp. Coffee Butter, plus more for serving

Instructions

  1. Build a medium-heat fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high.)
  2. For the King Crab Legs: Grill legs, turning as needed, until shells are charred and crabmeat is heated through, about 8 minutes. Serve with Seaweed Butter.
  3. For the Lobsters and Langoustines: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook live lobsters for 5 minutes. Split each lobster in half lengthwise through head and tail. Scoop out and discard the tomalleys. Split langoustines in half lengthwise. Season lobsters and langoustines with salt and pepper and grill flesh-side down until slightly charred, 2–3 minutes for lobster and 1 minute for langoustines. Turn each over and, using a spoon, spread with Seaweed Butter; continue grilling until meat is tender, 3–5 minutes more for lobsters and 1–2 minutes more for langoustines.
  4. For the Clams and Mussels: Grill, turning once, until shells open, about 10–12 minutes for clams and 3–5 minutes for mussels. Transfer to a bowl and toss with Chile Sauce.
  5. For the Scallops: Grill on the half shell, flesh-side down, until browned and partly cooked through, about 3 minutes. Turn over and add 1 tbsp. Coffee Butter; grill until cooked through, basting with butter, about 2 minutes more.

Pairing note: "The creamy texture of the 2012 Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay ($49; empirewine.com), from the Santa Rita Hills of California, plays off the richness of this buttery seafood perfectly."—Vilma Mazaite, director of wine at laV; Austin, Texas