Thursday, January 9, 2014
Italian Seafood Salad
We have been craving seafood after feasting on lots of meat during the holidays and ending with a gorgeous prime rib for Christmas. This Italian seafood salad is from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa’s latest cookbook Foolproof.
Ina uses a splash of Limoncello and lots of fresh lemon juice to bring out the briny flavor of the shellfish. Limoncello is a sweet liqueur from Italy and has a strong lemon flavor, but doesn’t have the sourness or bitterness associated with lemon juice. Limoncello is offered today in more and more restaurants as an after dinner digestive in place of dessert. Along the Amalfi Coast, the Italians serve Limoncello chilled in small ceramic glasses, the glasses themselves chilled as well. We like to keep a bottle in our freezer for that same occasion.
The recipe calls for fresh calamari, which we love. Try as I might, including searching every seafood market within ten to fifteen miles, we weren’t able to locate any calamari. So we substituted two six-ounce small spiny lobster tails that we frequently we can find on sale in our local market for the calamari. This is a very rich salad and consequently we had some left-overs. The next day we added a large can of canned plum tomatoes and their juice along with a splash of white wine and turned it into a seafood stew. This is an expensive salad, so I suggest you save it for special occasions.
Italian Seafood Salad
Adapted from Foolproof & The Food Network by Ina Garten – serves 6 to 8
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 1/2 pounds (16- to 20-count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 spiny lobster tails, about 6 ounces each, optional
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 pound sea scallops, halved crosswise
1 pound cleaned fresh calamari, sliced crosswise in 1/2-inch-thick rings (or substitute 2 spiny lobster tails, about 6 ounces each as we did above)
2 pounds fresh mussels
1/2 cup good olive oil
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 plum tomatoes, seeds and pulp removed and medium-diced
1/3 cup Limoncello liqueur
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, lightly packed
Fill a large pot with 3 quarts of water and add the Old Bay seasoning and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil, add the shrimp & lobster tails and lower the heat. Simmer the shrimp for 3 minutes, until just firm. With a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and leave the lobster tails in the water and simmer for an additional 3 minutes. With a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the lobster a large bowl and let rest until cool enough to remove the meat and cut into cubes. Save the tail for garnish if you wish. Leave 2 cups of the poaching liquid in the pot and discard the rest.
Add the wine to the poaching liquid and bring to a boil. Add the scallops, lower the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes, until just cooked. With the skimmer, transfer the scallops to the bowl with the shrimp. Bring the poaching liquid back to a boil, add the calamari, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until just cooked. Be careful not to overcook any of the seafood or it will be tough. With the skimmer, transfer the calamari to the bowl.
Bring the poaching liquid to a boil again, add the mussels, cover, and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, until all the shells have opened, discarding any that don't open. Turn off the heat and set aside until the mussels in the broth are cool enough to handle. Remove all but 12 of the mussels from the shells and add to the bowl. Add the 12 in their shells to the seafood and discard the rest of the shells. Set aside 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid, discarding the rest. Drain the seafood in a colander and put it all back into the bowl.
For the dressing, heat the olive oil in a medium (10-inch) sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. (Be careful: Overcooked garlic will be bitter.) Add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat for 2 more minutes. Add the reserved poaching liquid, the limoncello, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook for 1 more minute. Pour the sauce over the seafood and toss gently. Add the fennel and parsley. Cut a lemon in half lengthwise, cut it thinly crosswise, and add it to the salad. Toss gently to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Chill, covered, for at least 3 hours or overnight.
To serve, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the juice of the remaining lemon. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature. Garnish with a lobster tail if desired.
This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes & Carol's Chatter Food on Friday.
Have a great weekend everyone.