One of my favorite dishes is squid salad, the calamari
all’insalata that my father prepared at thefocacceria
with diligence and love. I followed his simple recipe and method
with meticulousness, to make this superb and incomparable dish.
Our customers enjoyed it as an appetizer, or as main dish, utilizing the dressing to dunk the fresh and delicious
Palermo style bread we served with their meal.
salad was prepared and seasoned a day ahead, to let the
ingredients blend, the flavors absorbed, to acquire the taste of our celebrated seafood salad.
The ingredients used are few, and never mixed with vegetables like celery or carrots which would have taken away
from the mild taste of the calamari
and of the sapore di mare,
the taste of the ocean of the salad.
4 lb. clean squid, tentacles and the bodies separated
2 medium size fresh, frozen or precooked conch, scungilli.
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
peperoncino, hot red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup of chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic sliced very thin
How to Boil Calamari
Two pots with salted water are needed.
In a large pot place the squid rings, 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in water), 1 bay leaf, abundant salt and bring
to a boil. Lower to a medium heat and cook for about 25 minutes. Shut off heat and test a ring for tenderness. If
they are not ready leave in the cooking water for an additional 5 minutes or until tender. Using a slotted spoon,
remove and set aside.
In a smaller pot, place the tentacles, 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in water), 1 bay leaf, teaspoon of salt and
bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Shut off heat and leave tentacles in the cooking
water for an additional 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside.
In a small pot, place the scungilli, 1/2
lemon (squeeze the juice in water), 1 bay leaf, little salt, cover scungilli
with water, add another cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower
heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes if precooked scungilli
are used. If raw scungilli
are used, add 2 cups of water and cook for 1 hour. Shut off heat;
using a slotted spoon, remove the scungilli, set
aside to cool and slice into ¼ inch thick. Reserve the water and when it is cold, strain it; it will be used to
make the dressing.
In a large bowl, whisk together the juice of the remaining lemons, the olive oil, a few pinches of black pepper,
peperoncino flakes (optional) and half of the parsley. Combine with the dressing the sliced scungilli
and calamari, rings and tentacles. Barely cover with the
water and add any salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the salad the next day. When ready to serve, add freshly sliced garlic and garnish with remaining parsley. We
used to serve the calamari
salad with a lettuce salad dressed with olive oil and a few drops
of lemon juice.
As an appetizer, served buffet style shrimps, scallops,
and other boiled fish can be added to please your guests and
to make a memorable antipasto.
If the only scungilli available are in a can, purchase 2 cans of 6.5 oz. Preferable buy LaMonica
drain liquid from cans and place the scungilli
in a small pot with 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in water), 1
bay leaf, a little salt, cover scungilli with water, add 1 additional cup of water and bring to a boil. Shut
off heat; using a slotted spoon, remove the scungilli, set aside. Reserve the water and when it is cold, strain
it; it will be used to make the dressing.