Italian seafood salad recipe
(Insalata di mare)

Versions of this Italian seafood salad recipe appear along every coast of Italy! A tasty, healthy and simple seafood dish. Use fresh seafood that is in season, or a combination of fresh and frozen.

It is often served as starter on seafood based meals.

Ingredients for 6-8:

350 g. of small squid

1 small onion, cut into quarters

1 bay leaf

200 g. of prawns in their shells

750 g. of fresh mussels, in their shells

450 g. of fresh small clams

175 ml of white wine

1 fennel bulb

For the dressing:

5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

45 ml. of fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Working near the sink, clean the squid by first peeling off the thin skin from the body section. Rinse well.

Pull the head and tentacles away from the sac section. Some of the intestines will come away with the head. Remove and discard the translucent quill and any remaining insides from the sac. Sever the tentacles from the head. Discard the head and intestines. Remove the small hard beak from the base of the tentacles. Rinse the sac and tentacles well under cold running water. Drain.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the onion and bay leaf. Drop in the squid and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon, and allow to cool before slicing into rings 1 cm wide. Cut each tentacle section into 2 pieces. Set aside.

Drop the prawns into the same boiling water, and cook until they turn pink, about 2 minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon. Peel and devein. The cooking liquid may be strained and kept for soup.

Cut off the “beards” from the mussels. Scrubs and rinse the mussels and clam well in several changes of cold water. Place in a large pan with the wine. Cover, and steam until all the shells have opened. Discard any that do not open. Lift the clams and mussels out.

Remove all the clams from their shells with a small spoon. Place in a large serving bowl. Remove all but 8 of the mussels from their shells, and add them to the clams in the bowl. Leave the remaining mussels in their half shells, and set aside.

Cut the green, ferny part of the fennel away from the bulb. Chop finely and set aside. Chop the bulb into bite-size pieces, and add it to serving bowl with the squid and prawns.

Make a dressing by combining the oil, lemon juice, garlic and chopped fennel green in a small bowl. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the salad, and toss well. Decorate with the remaining mussels in the half shell.

This Italian seafood salad may be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.

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