Calamari Salad

 

 

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.
The calamari  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.

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb. clean squid, tentacles and the bodies separated
  • 2 medium size fresh, frozen or precooked conch, scungilli.
  • 5 lemons
  • 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

 

Preparation

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.

The Dressing
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.

The Salad
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 reserved scungilli’s  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.

                        Fish Salad

 

 

As an appetizer, served buffet style shrimps, scallops,  polpo  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 Scungilli; 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.