Monday, November 29, 2010

Insalata di Mare

This is such a simple, tasty, perfection Italian salad!
     I learned to make this salad when I was a garde manger chef in a fine Northern Italian restaurant.  The seafood part of the recipe was made the same way in every Italian restaurant that I cooked for in later years.
     This recipe never changes.  Only the presentation changes from restaurant to restaurant.  This blog entry presentation does have a nice eye appeal!
     It is very important to not overcook the seafood for this salad.  The seafood must be very fresh.  The seafood must be cooked al dente or just a little bit more than three quarters fully cooked.  Most Italians prefer al dente seafood for a salad, just like al dente pasta!
     Recipe:  Center a mound of mixed lettuce on a plate.
     Surround the mound of lettuce with plum tomato slices.
     Set ripe olive halves on the tomato slices.
     Place thin sliced long carrot triangles between the tomato slices.
     Set the salad set up plate aside.
     Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a sauce pot.
     Add 1bay leaf.
     Add a little bit of sea salt.
     Add a handful of medium size scallops.
     Add 6 to 8 large peeled and deveined shrimp.
     Boil the shrimp and scallops for about 1 minute, before adding the squid.
     Add a handful sliced squid and tentacles. Boil the seafood for about 45 seconds more, till the seafood is cooked al dente.  (Add the sliced squid last.  Squid only takes a few seconds to cook.  When seafood is al dente, it is slightly raw and warm in the center.)
     Remove the pot from heat and immediately cool the seafood under cold running water.
     Drain off the water and remove the bay leaf.
     Place a splash of virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl.
     Add a pinch of coarse ground black pepper.
     Add a pinch of sea salt.
     Add a pinch of minced basil.
     Add a pinch of oregano.
     Add a pinch of chopped Italian parsley.
     Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
     Add the al dente poached seafood.
     Toss the seafood with the dressing.
     Set the seafood on top of the lettuce mound on the plate.
     Spoon the extra lemon oil dressing over the salad and tomatoes.
     This is such a nice healthy salad!  Fresh lemon juice makes a big difference.  Do not over cook the seafood or it with taste bland and the squid will be textured like rubber.  Lo carb, lo calorie and high protein is what this classic salad is all about.  Insalata di mare is a great summertime salad.  This is one of my favorite Italian salads!  Ciao baby!  ...  Shawna

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