Italian-inspired Seafood Salad

This recipe is a labor of love. But the boon is everything can be prepped ahead of time, which makes serving a breeze. Make sure you have a large enough vessel to fit everything at the end. It’s essential to toss it all together in the same bowl prior to serving to ensure the seasoning is even and bright.

Recipe Adapted from Daniel Gritzer/Serious Eats

Seafood:

  • ¾ pound sea scallops, medium dice
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice, divided
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 fennel ends, washed and roughly sliced (use scraps from fennel used for salad)
  • 1 cup celery scrap, washed and roughly sliced (use from celery in salad)
  • 1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • 2 pounds shrimp, 26-30 count, peeled and deveined
  • 4 pounds mussels, debearded and washed well
  • 2t coriander seed
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ lemon, striped with a peeler
  • 2 pounds squid, cleaned, bodies sliced, tentacles halved
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Salad components:

  • 2 bulbs fennel, shaved thinly on a mandolin or with a sharp knife (save scraps for seafood poach, see above)
  • 8 pieces celery, peeled and cut on a sharp bias (save scraps for seafood poach, see above)
  • 1 bunch parsley, minced
  • ¼ C chervil, minced
  • ¼ C chives, minced
  • ¼ C dill, minced
  • 2T celery leaves, minced

Vinaigrette:

  • 3t coriander seed, toasted and crushed
  • 2t freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • ½ C lemon juice
  • ¼ C parsley
  • 1 C extra-virgin olive oil

In a non-reactive stainless-steel bowl, toss the scallops with a big pinch of salt and cover with lemon juice (roughly 1 cup). Marinate for 1 hour, then strain the scallops and set aside in the fridge.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an 8-quart rondeau. Sweat the onion, garlic, fennel and celery scarps over medium-low heat until softened, no color. Add the mussels, a large pinch of salt and the wine. Shake the pan vigorously and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Steam the mussels until they open, 4-6 minutes, over medium-high heat. Once opened, scoop out the mussels and transfer to a sheet tray to cool completely. Discard any mussels that don’t open.

Add 2 quarts of cold water to the mussel steaming liquid along with 3 big pinches of salt, coriander, bay leaves, black peppercorns and lemon peel. Add the squid to the poaching liquid and cook to tender, taking care not to let the water heat past a gentle simmer (170 degrees). It should take around 5 minutes, depending on the temperature of your cooking liquid. It’s cooked once it’s opaque and slightly springy to the touch. Once cooked, scoop the squid out, toss with 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and cool on a sheet tray.

Add another 2 big pinches of salt to the poaching liquid. Bring it up to a simmer, add the shrimp and turn off the heat. Let the shrimp cook gently until pink, 3-4 minutes. Scoop out the shrimp, toss with 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice and let cool.

Make the vinaigrette: Put everything minus the olive oil in a bowl and whisk well. Slowly stream in the oil and whisk. Set aside.

Once all the seafood is cool, pick the meat out of all but 15 mussels. Toss the mussels with the rest of the seafood, half the vinaigrette, and a couple large pinches of salt.  At this point, the salad can rest overnight in the fridge.

When ready to assemble the salad, toss the dressed seafood with the sliced vegetables and minced herbs (to peel celery, use a peeler to peel the ribs off the outer surface of the celery – this makes eating the celery much more pleasant). Taste and adjust the seasoning with more vinaigrette and/or salt. Serve chilled with extra vinaigrette on the side.

 

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