Monday, November 28, 2011

Mixed Seafood Sallad (Italy)

This is an ubiquitous dish in Italy, found in the menu of every seafood restaurant or even pizzeria. Because of this, you nowadays find infinite variations on the theme: ranging from an horrible all-from-frozen fish version to a sublime ensemble of fresh, local seafood. The preparation is very -and I mean very- straightforward and I see no reason why this shouldn't be a more widespread dish. The ingredients are easily available and relatively cheap (squid and mussels are amongst the cheapest fresh seafood) and the final product keeps in the fridge for up to a few days. Finally, this dish can be served as an appetizer, or used to dress a pasta for a quick and refreshing light lunch or dinner. The key to success is to use FRESH seafood and the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can afford.

Preparation: Start by cleaning the fresh baby squid, separating the tentacles and cutting the bodies into rings. Shell the fresh shrimp and de-vein them if necessary (small shrimp are good for this). Rinse mussels and manila clams (vongole) under running water. If you're lucky enough to get 'wild' clams and mussels ('veraci'), let them spit out the sand they might contain into a bucket of salted room temperature water for at least 1/2 hrs before using.

Cooking: bring water to a rolling boil. Add squid tentacles and boil for 5' minutes. Then add the squid rings and shrimp (cut into chunks if they're too big) and boil for additional 10' minutes. Drain, season with salt and pepper and dress with quite a lot of lemon juice (or a mix of lemon and lime juice), leave it to marinate. Meanwhile, fry a few garlic cloves and dry peperoncini in some olive oil until toasted, add the clams and mussels, a splash of white wine and cover the pot for 10'- 15' minutes or until all the shellfish is open (take care to discard shellfish that stubbornly would not open during cooking). When cool enough to handle, pick the meat out of each shell and add it to the squid and shrimp marinade. Add abundant, good quality extra virgin olive oil and toss - the dish can now be stored in the fridge for up to a few days (it reaches its 'peak' after a day or so) or served immediately. When ready to serve, cool down to room temperature, taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary, add a generous amount of fresh pepper, chopped parsley, peeled and crushed garlic, pistachio nuts and a dash of fresh olive oil. Serve at once. Buon appetito!

No comments:

Post a Comment