Have I told you lately how much I love seafood? Creating fabulous recipes using such fresh, and simple ingredients is my jam! Summertime, any time for that matter, calls for super light meals. Ones that are not only easy to make, but are ever so refreshing. My Italian Seafood Salad is just this. The seafood is quickly poached, chilled then marinated. This recipe is surely a party pleaser. Also, a great addition to your Feast of the Seven Fishes celebration on Christmas Eve!
If you are local to Charlotte, grab your seafood from The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. Although, I totally dropped the ball and forgot to add crab, do it. Use the poaching liquid to steam up a few king or snow crab legs.
PREPPING THE SEAFOOD
So, I know I mentioned above how easy this recipe for Italian Seafood Salad is to make. However, it will take a bit of time to prepare. Prior to poaching and marinating, the seafood needs a bit of prepping. Easily enough, the shrimp just needs to sit in the fridge for a bit seasoned with a touch of kosher salt.
I suggest using sea scallops, as opposed to bay. The thickness of the sea scallops holds up well to the lemon juice as they are “cooking.” Only use bay if that is all you can find. Gently rinse the scallops. Locate the foot. Peel off and discard. If you are using U10/12 scallops, cut each scallop into four to six pieces. Reserve scallops in fridge.
Be sure to utilize both the tubes and tentacles. Rinse. Cut tubes into uniform rings. Reserve along with the tentacles in fridge until ready to poach.
Just about five minutes prior to steaming, place mussels in a cold bath of water and the flour. Be sure to discard any mussels that are already opened. The mussels will ingest the flour water and spit out along with any dirt. Rinse.
POACHING AND MARINATING THE SEAFOOD
Start by “cooking” the scallops. The scallops are actually going to cook in the lemon juice. For reals! It will take at least an hour to make the magic happen. Place scallops in a non-reactive bowl. Add the juice from three lemons. Stir, cover and place in fridge for at least an hour. Toss the scallops about halfway through the cooking process. You will notice the scallops will turn from translucent to opaque. This means they are done!
As the scallops are doing their thing, prepare the remaining ingredients. Whisk together the seafood stock, coconut milk and juice from one lemon in a pot. Toss in the peppercorns and bay leaves. Heat to just under a boil.
Grab a bowl and fill with ice. This ice bath will serve to stop the mussels from steaming further once they are removed from the poaching liquid. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover with lid. Allow the mussels to steam open. This should take about three minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Remove mussels with a spider or slotted spoon. Place directly into ice bath and allow to chill in the fridge.
Turn down the heat on the poaching liquid. Add in the shrimp and squid. Prepare another ice bath. Allow to poach just long enough for the shrimp to turn pink and opaque. This will give the squid enough time to fully cook, yet become super tender. Remove the cooked calamari and shrimp from the liquid with a spider or slotted spoon directly into the ice bath. Reserve and chill in fridge.
FINISHING THE ITALIAN SEFOOD SALAD
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients, except for the kosher salt and black pepper for the marinade. Drain the scallops from the lemon juice. Do not rinse. Place scallops in the bowl with the marinade. Remove about half of the mussels from their shells and add to the scallops. Reserve the remaining mussels. Add the calamari to the bowl. Remove the tails from the shrimp. Cut most of the shrimp in half. Save a few pieces to add in whole. Place all shrimp in bowl with the other seafood.
Toss in the celery and remaining shelled mussels. Mix well to fully coat the seafood. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Taste. You may need to add a touch more lemon juice, olive oil and/or salt.
TO SERVE THE ITALIAN SEAFOOD SALAD
Place the Italian Seafood Salad in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedges. Enjoy as a side dish, salad or even as a light meal! Salad can be refrigerated for up to two days. ENJOY!