Traditional Italian Seafood Recipes

These are some of the most representative Italian seafood recipes!

The key is to always use fresh seafood if possible.

Don't forget to also check the antipasti and pasta recipes for more seafood dishes!

This balsamic prawn recipe may strike you as an odd combination of flavours, but is in actual fact perfect from every point of view!

Balsamic prawn recipe

It is important to use Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and not a standard balsamic vinegar from the store for excellent results.

Ingredients for 6:

Prawn tails

Thinly sliced smoked bacon

Olive oil

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar as required


Remove the black filament from the prawn tails and leave them to soften for at least three hours in orange juice or, if oranges are not in season, lemon juice.

Wrap the prawn tails in a slice of smoked bacon and secure with a toothpick.

When you are ready to serve them, sauté quickly in a pan, preferably non-stick, with a little olive oil.

Remove from the heat as soon as the bacon is browned, lace with a few drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and then serve the prawn tails either as a stand-up appetizer, or in individual plates at the table with a bed of salad – lamb’s lettuce is ideal – dressed with oil, salt and pepper and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

The essential secret with this recipe is to use the minimum amount of oil when cooking, since the smoked bacon is already quite fatty.

Stuffed squid recipe with crab

This stuffed squid recipe typical of Friuli is excellent accompanied by fried or grilled polenta.

The Friulian cuisine is largely based on meat, game, beans and pork, but it is different on the coast, where fish is predominant.

Ingredients for 4:

1 cooked medium crab, cleaned

16 small squid, cleaned but kept whole. If squid are not available cuttlefish can be used instead

5 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon plain flour

4 tablespoons of milk

2 egg yolks

50 g. of butter

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons of dry white wine

1 tablespoon of finely chopped flat-leaf



Remove the meat from the crab and set aside. Rinse the squid or cuttlefish pouches and set aside with the tentacles.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion until soft, then stir in the flour.

Add the milk and cuttlefish or squid and cook gently, allowing 10-12 minutes for small, 12-18 for larger ones.

Remove the cuttlefish or squid from the sauce. Chop the tentacles very finely and put the minto a bowl with the crabmeat, egg yolks and butter.

Mix well, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Use to stuff the cuttlefish or squid cavities.

Put the stuffed fish back in the sauce.

Add the wine and a little water to obtain a thick sauce, and cook slowly for another 10 minutes.

Add just the seasoning and sprinkle whit chopped parsley. Serve with polenta.

Barbecue seafood skewers (Uccelletti)

This barbecue seafood recipe is typical of Le Marche region and will give a real gourmet touch to any barbecue party. 

The literal translation of uccelletti is “sparrows” but don’t be alarmed, there are non bird here, just the very freshest morsels of seafood to grill at home, or on the barbecue. 

From Le Marche down towards the south, you will come across fresh breadcrumbs mixed with very finely chopped parsley, sprinkled on to foods for added flavour.

Ingredients for 4-6:

800 g. mixed fresh firm seafood (such octopus, squid, large prawns, cuttlefish, shelled scallops)

150 g. of fresh fine white


3 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Olive oil to brush

Lemon juice to sprinkle


Pre-soak some wooden kebab skewers in water for around  30 minutes (to prevent them scorching during cooking). 

Clean the fish as necessary, peeling the prawns but leaving the tall shells intact. Cut the other seafood into chunks, roughly the size of an apricot. 

Thread these alternately on to double skewers to hold securely.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley, and season with some salt and pepper. Brush the fish with olive oil, then dust with the savoury breadcrumbs on all sides.

Grill or barbecue the kebabs for 3-4 minutes, turning to colour on all sides, and basting with lemon juice and olive oil as they cook. Serve immediately.

Italian stewed octopus recipe

For this excellent octopus recipe, the fish is cooked in its own juices with tomatoes.

You need a young octopus, weighing no more than 150 g, and they must also be “verace", the right kind, identified by double row of suckers on the tentacles.

For me, this is one of the best fish to eat.

Ingredients for 4:

8 tablespoons of olive oil

8 fresh baby octopus, about 120-150 g. each, cleaned

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

500 g. of polpa di pomodoro or chunky passata

Bunch of flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Salt and pepper


Heat the olive oil in an earthenware pot or casserole (one with a tight-fitting lid). Add the octopus and fry, stirring for a minute or so. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a few seconds, and then add the tomato pulp.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer very gently for 20-30 minutes. The octopus will be cooked by now. Open the lid, scatter in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with toasted bread.

Venetian sole recipe in sweet and sour sauce

This sole recipe from Venice cooked in a sweet and sour sauce is an easy but impressive and delicious dish.  

It should be prepared 1-2 days before it is to be eaten.

Ingredients for 4:

3-4 fillets of sole, about 500 g. total, divided in half

60 ml. of flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of ground cloves

90-120 ml of olive oil

35 g. of pine nuts

3 bay leaves

Pinch of grated nutmeg

4 cloves

1 small onion, very finely sliced

50 ml. of dry white wine

50 ml. of white wine vinegar

50 g, of sultanas


Dredge the sole fillets in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper and the ground cloves. 

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy frying pan or skillet. Cook the sole fillets a few a time until golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Add more oil as necessary.

Remove with a slotted spatula to a large shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, bay leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg and whole cloves.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Add the onion, and cook over low heat until golden. Add the wine, vinegar and sultanas, and boil for 4-5 minutes. 

Pour over the fish. Cover the dish with foil, and leave in a cool place for 24- 48 hours. Remove 2 hours before serving. This dish is traditionally eaten at room temperature.

Italian seafood salad recipe

This is my favourite Italian seafood recipe and by far the easiest to make! You only need to make sure you use fresh or freshly frozen seafood. Versions of this Italian seafood salad recipe appear along every coast of Italy.

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