This fragrant summer salad can be made a day or two in advance. Traditionally composed only of shellfish, its ingredients may vary as long as the seafood is very fresh. Most importantly do not overcook the seafood.
- 2 lbs. mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
- 2 lbs. clams (little necks or small soft shell steamers), scrubbed
- 1 lb. shrimp
- 1 lb. squid, cleaned, bodies cut into neat strips or rings, tentacles left whole
- 1/2 lb. scallops, tough side muscles removed
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- coarsely chopped garlic for cooking mussels and clams
- white wine
- 5 garlic cloves, cut in half
- 1 C. OO
- 1/2 C. lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1/4 C. chopped Italian parsley
- S & P
- lemon wedges
- salad greens
Mussels: Rinse, debeard and place in a large skillet with a bit of OO, coarsely chopped garlic and a splash of white wine. Cover the pan and bring to a high heat until the mussels have opened. Remove from the heat; take the meat out of the shells. Discard the shells and any that have remained closed.
Clams: Cook the clams using the same method as the mussels.
Shrimp, squid and scallops: In a large pot of boiling salted water seasoned with the cut lemon, blanch the shrimp, squid and scallops separately just until done. Shrimp will take about 1-3 min depending on their size; squid just until it turns opaque, not more than 2 minutes and scallops until they become opaque, 30 seconds to 1 minute. As you remove each type of seafood from the cooking water, plunge it immediately into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the cooled seafood and combine in a large bowl. Add the reserved mussels and clams.
Dressing: Whisk the OO and lemon juice together and add the garlic and parsley; season to taste with S & P. Add the dressing to the shellfish and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Remove the garlic before serving. Adjust the seasoning, adding more OO or lemon juice if needed.
Serve on a large platter, piled onto salad greens and garnished with lemon slices.
Variations: to make a more colorful salad add thinly sliced celery, red and yellow pepper and onion (soaked in cold water for 30 min, drain and pat dry).