Monday, November 29, 2010

Insalata di Mare

This is such a simple tasty traditional Italian salad!
     I learned how to make this salad when I was a garde manger chef in a fine northern Italian restaurant.  The seafood for the Insalata di Mare was prepared the same way at every Italian restaurant that I worked in since.  The 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!
     Insalata di Mare Recipe:
     Place a mound of mixed lettuce on the center of a plate.
     Surround the mound of lettuce with Roma tomato slices.
     Place ripe olive halves on the tomato slices.
     Place thin sliced long carrot triangles between the tomato slices.
     The salad set up plate can be set aside, till the seafood is prepared.
     Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a sauce pot.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add a little bit of sea salt.
     Add 1 8 to 10 of medium size scallops.
     Add 6 to 8 large peeled and deveined shrimp.
     Boil the shrimp and scallops, till they become almost three quarters fully cooked, before adding the squid.
     Add 4 to 5 ounces of sliced squid and tentacles.
     Boil the seafood for about 45 seconds more, till the seafood is cooked al dente.  (Always add the sliced squid last.  Squid only takes a few seconds to cook.  When seafood is cooked al dente, it is still slightly raw and warm in the center.)
     Remove the pot from heat.
     Immediately cool the seafood under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the seafood.
     Remove the bay leaf.
     Place 2 ounces of virgin olive oil into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 pinch of coarse ground black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of minced basil.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of chopped Italian parsley.
     Add 1 generous 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 tasting healthy salad!  Fresh lemon juice makes a big difference.  Do not over cook the seafood or it will 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! 

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