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Low FODMAP Southwest Seafood Tower for 2

FODify It Southwest Seafood Tower


Spice up your New Year’s Eve, birthdays and special occasions with this American Southwest Seafood Tower! On the menu …

Two Jumbo Shrimp with Tequila Cocktail Sauce
Lobster Medallions and Seared Scallops with Cilantro Mignonette Sauce
Shrimp Tacos with Mini Homemade Tortillas
Snow Crab Jalapeno Poppers

Taking your time to enjoy the details of building your seafood tower takes about 2 1/2 hours, and all of these delectable tidbits can be made one day in advance. You will also need a bag of crushed ice to pile onto the plates.

Are you an oyster lover? Switch out the 2 jumbo shrimp with 4 fresh oysters on the half shell. Both Mignonette and Tequila Cocktail sauces pair well with oysters.

Another fun aspect in creating your tower is getting creative as you choose your small bowls, dishes and scallop shells (if available to you). Mix and match. Modern with vintage. Use Talavera and small white dishes. A clear cocktail glass on the top tier makes for a lovely “crown” to the tower. Lemon wedges all around brighten everything up. It’s your art piece, so go for it!




To pair with the jumbo shrimp

2 tablespoons ketchup, low FODMAP containing no onion or garlic (Fody Foods brand is excellent)

Juice of 1/4 fresh lemon

2 teaspoons tequila

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh, fine grated horseradish, to your taste


To pair with the lobster medallions and scallops

3 tablespoons white wine or apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves

2 scallions, minced, green parts only

1/16 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/16 scant teaspoon fine sea salt


1 medium size mixing bowl

12 ice cubes

1 large saucepan with lid

1 steamer basket that fits into the saucepan

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 sheet (4 x 3.5-inch / 10 x 9 cm) nori, cut into 4 strips

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 small lobster tail, uncooked, shell and tail on

2 jumbo shrimp, uncooked, shells and tails on

2 scallop shells, cleaned and dried to use as serving dishes


6 medium (1/8-ounce / 5 g each) scallops, uncooked

6 small shrimp, uncooked, deveined, shells and tails removed

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 garlic clove, cut into 4 pieces

2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh Roma tomato

2 teaspoons minced scallions, green parts only

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/8 (1-ounce / 30 g) avocado, cut into small pieces


Makes 8 to 10 small 2 1/2-inch / 6 cm tortillas

1/2 cup (63 g) masa harina

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/3 cup (79 ml) warm water

Tortilla press

1 large plastic baggie cut into 2 sheets, then into circles that are slightly larger than the press surfaces


2 small (1-ounce / 29 g each) fresh, mild jalapenos

2 medium (2-ounces / 60 g total) cooked snow crab legs (will yield approx. 1-ounce / 30 g crab meat)

3 tablespoons lactose-free cream cheese, room temperature (Green Valley Creamery brand is excellent)

1/2 teaspoon minced cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 minced scallion, green parts only

Tiny pinch fine sea salt

Tiny pinch fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon plain low FODMAP gluten-free breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Handful of cilantro leaves for garnishing the jumbo shrimp and seafood in the shells

1 lemon cut into 8 wedges for garnish

Small spoons for serving


Tequila Cocktail Sauce: Mix all ingredients in a measuring cup. Pour into a small serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.

Cilantro Mignonette Sauce: Mix all ingredients in a measuring cup. Pour into a small serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.

Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp: Fill the mixing bowl with ice cubes and set aside.

Fill the saucepan with 1 to 1 1/2-inch  (2.5 to 4 cm) water, just below the bottom of the steamer. Add the lemon juice, nori and salt. Place the steamer basket into the pan. Cover with lid and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Lobster + Shrimp Steaming Southwest Seafood Tower

Place the lobster tail and jumbo shrimp into the basket. Reduce heat to medium and cover with lid. Steam for 4 minutes and transfer the shrimp to the bowl of ice. Replace the lid and steam the lobster for 2 minutes. Transfer the lobster to the ice bowl. Check that the shrimp and lobster have opaque white centers and are cooked through. If they look translucent in the center, steam them 1 to 2 minutes longer. Allow to chill for a few minutes until cool enough to handle.

Remove the shell and tails from the lobster. Remove the shells from the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Devein the shrimp. (Place the shells and tails in a freezer baggie to freeze and use later for seafood stock). Place the shrimp in a clear cocktail glass, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge. Cut the lobster into 6 medallions. Place in scallops shells; 3 for each shell. Cover with plastic and chill in the fridge.

Scallops and Taco Shrimp: Rinse the scallops and shrimp under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.

Pour the oil into a small nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic pieces and cook until they are just light golden brown, moving them around the pan with a spatula. You don’t want them to become dark brown, as this will create a bitter flavor. Remove the garlic from the pan and discard. You now have lovely garlic-infused oil minus the FODMAPs.

Increase the heat to medium high. Add the scallops and shrimp and cook 1 minute. Flip them over with a fork and cook 1 minute longer or until the scallops are opaque white and the shrimp are pink on the outside and opaque white in the center.

Transfer the seafood to a cutting board. Rough chop the scallops into chunky pieces, divide and place in the scallop shells with the lobster. Cover with plastic wrap and place back in the fridge.

Mince the shrimp and place in a small bowl. Add the minced cilantro, tomato, scallion and the lime juice. Mix well. Spoon into a small serving dish, top with the avocado pieces, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.

Tortillas: Whisk the masa harina and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add the warm water. Using your hands, knead the dough to combine. It will begin to pull away and clean the sides of the bowl. If still crumbly, add 1 tablespoon more warm water and continue to knead until the dough holds together in a soft ball.

Wet the press surfaces with a splash of water. Stick the plastic circles to the surfaces.

Heat a comal or large nonstick skillet to high heat.

Mini Tortillas for Southwest Seafood Tower

Pinch a small amount of dough from the ball, about the size of a small walnut (.5-ounce / 15 g) and roll it into a ball. Center it on the bottom press plate and close the handle very gently, applying very little pressure. Open the press and measure the tortilla. You want a 2 1/2—inch (6 cm) circle. If too small, press once again, very gently. Peel the top piece of plastic off and lift the tortilla with the bottom plastic stuck to it. Place the dough side down in one hand and peel the plastic away from the dough. Transfer the tortilla to a large plate or work surface and repeat for the remaining tortillas.

Reduce the skillet heat to medium. Place 3 or 4 tortillas into the pan and toast for 1 minute. Flip with a spatula and toast 30 seconds. Flip again and watch for them to poof up a bit and become slightly pillow-y on top. This is how you know you’ve made a good dough. You may need to flip them a couple more times until they have light brown toasted marks.

If you are preparing your tower the same day, place the tortillas in foil and set aside until ready to assemble. If you are making them a day in advance, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. When ready to assemble the tower, set them out to room temperature, divide and place 4 each in small serving bowls or dishes.

Poppers: Wear plastic gloves before handling the jalapenos; careful not to touch you eyes, nose or mouth, as the oils from the peppers may sting. Rinse the jalapenos with cool water and dry with a paper towel. Cut them lengthwise in half, leaving the stems on. Use a spoon or serrated grapefruit spoon to scoop away the seeds and ribbing.

Crack open the crab legs with scissors, cutting up the side of the legs. You should be able to easily pull the meat out with your fingers. If not, extract the meat using a small fork or butter knife. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and mince. Place in a small mixing bowl with the soft cream cheese, cilantro, lemon juice, scallions, salt and pepper. Mix well. Using a small spoon, scoop the mixture into the 4 jalapeno halves, pressing it to secure into the peppers.

Place them in a small metal pie pan. Top with the breadcrumbs and drizzle with oil. Set your broiler to high. Place the pan under the broiler for 2 minutes. When the breadcrumbs turn light golden brown and the filling starts to bubble, turn the broiler off and cook 1 minute longer for more tender jalapenos. Transfer them to a small serving dish and let cool for a few minutes before placing on the tower.

Assembly: Scoop the crushed ice onto the tower plates using a large plastic measuring cup, as glass may chip into the ice.

Southwest Seafood Tower Top Tier

Check that each small bite is plated on the dish or bowl you’ve selected. Place the jumbo shrimp in the clear cocktail glass center on the top tier. Nestle in the bowls of mignonette and cocktail sauce behind the shrimp. Place the two scallop shells with lobster and scallops towards the front of the tier. Garnish the jumbo shrimp and scallop dishes with cilantro leaves.

For the bottom tier, place the two tortilla dishes opposite each other. Place the shrimp taco salsa bowl opposite the poppers. Place four lemon wedges on each tier.  Serve immediately with two medium size dinner plates and small serving spoons.

Southwest Seafood Tower Bottom Tier


Tablespoon: are US 3 teaspoons per tablespoon.

6 small scallops may be replaced with 2 large scallops to accompany the lobster. (Large size were not available at our market today).

When preparing a day in advance, stuff the jalapenos with crab filling and wait to broil them the next day. Add the breadcrumbs and drizzle with oil just before broiling.

While the mini tortillas may be made a day in advanced, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and chilled in the fridge, they will taste better freshly made.

If you enjoy surf-n-turf, share a small grilled steak with your tower of small bites.

Leftovers? Mix them into your frittata the next morning.

Please refer to our previous post listing foods and brands we use in our everyday cooking.

With regard to the jalapenos, Monash notes that while chiles are generally low in FODMAPs, some people with IBS may be sensitive to the capsaicin they contain. You may need to limit how much chile you eat if your IBS symptoms are triggered.

Click here to download your recipe PDF (text only pdf no photos

Southwest Seafood Tower Plated
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