the appetizer:

The Young Man & the Sea by David Pasternack presents new twists on seafood recipes, like Seafood Salad Esca, Fettucine, Rock Shrimp, Corn & Jalapeño, and Shad Roe with Dandelion Greens and Mustard Vinaigrette.

Cookbook Profile
 

Seafood Salad Esca

Octopus

Serves 4

I had the greatest seafood salad ever in Amalfi at Zaccaria, a restaurant that was built on the cliffs around sidewalks that snaked through the town. So between bites I found myself dodging kids riding their bikes and kicking soccer balls right in the middle of the trattoria. Seafood salad is always a great summer dish, and this version is made up of my ideal combination: calamari, scallops, scungilli, mussels, and shrimp. I slice the calamari and scungilli, but leave the shrimp whole because people love to see big shrimp—if you're spending money on the good stuff, why chop it up? Let the salad sit for about an hour so the flavors meld, and then serve it at room temperature or even a little warm. Chilling it causes everything to stiffen up, and it's never as delicious. Serve it on a big platter, family-style, of course.

Place the dried chiles, seaweed, and half the lemon zest in a 6-quart pot filled with four quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons sea salt.

If using scungilli, add them to the simmering broth and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are tender (test by biting them). Remove with a slotted spoon, drain, and set aside in a large mixing bowl. When cool enough to handle, thinly slice.

If you're not using scungilli, begin by adding the scallops to the broth and simmer for 1 minute, until the flesh is opaque. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain, and add to the large bowl. Add the calamari, if you are using it, and cook for 1 minute, then transfer to the large bowl with a slotted spoon. Cook the shrimp for 2 minutes, until they are just opaque; remove, drain, and place in the bowl. Finally cook the mussels for 4 to 5 minutes, until their shells begin to open. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and set aside on a separate plate from the other cooked seafood. Discard any mussels that haven't opened.

In a small skillet over a medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until it shimmers. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not brown, about 2 minutes. Pour the contents of the pan over the cooked seafood. Add the remaining olive oil and lemon zest, and the lemon juice, vinegar, onion, minced parsley, minced mint, and red pepper flakes. Fold in to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Add the mussels still in their shells, gently fold in, and cover the bowl with foil. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to let the flavors meld.

Toss the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper before spooning onto a large serving platter. Bruise the mint leaves and parsley sprigs for the garnish between your fingers and sprinkle on top.

Ingredient Note

If scungilli or calamari aren't your thing, leave them out and compensate with other seafood. Just using shrimp and scallops will result in an equally delicious dish.

 

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This page created August 2007