For most, the kick-off of the spring season is marked not only with emerging blooms and an overall lightening up and shedding of winter layers, but also with a simpler, fresher approach to food. Springtime fare features the freshest ingredients, bright flavors and in my kitchen, lots of citrus! This simple but satisfying dish is one that my late mother-in-law made every year beginning at Easter and (thankfully) lingered on throughout the summer holidays and get-togethers. It’s a simple dish; the perfect marriage of sweet, plump shrimp and tender calamari. Certainly, if you prefer to add scallops or another type of seafood, feel free to get creative. Topping the dish with a good handful of pitted Kalamata olives or green Italian olives is also a nice touch, but again, I keep it simple because my husband likes it the way his mother always made it. And that’s just fine with me!
Springtime Seafood Salad
- 4 lbs of fresh, peeled, deveined shrimp
- 2-3 lbs of fresh calamari (we like the tentacles instead of the body since they're much more tender and add a nice texture to the dish)
- 2-3 large lemons at room temperature, plus additional wedges for serving
- Italian parsley, chopped, about 3 Tbsp.
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and crushed red pepper, to taste
- Step 1 In a large pot, cover the shrimp with cold water, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Watch that the water doesn’t bubble over or you’ll have a mess on your stove top! Lower the heat to a gentle boil.
- Step 2 The shrimp needs to cook until it’s pink in color and cooked through, but not overcooked. Drain in a large colander.
- Step 3 In a smaller pot, do the same with the calamari. The calamari takes longer to cook than the shrimp. You will need to taste it periodically to see if it’s tender enough.
- Step 4 Drain in colander once tender.
- Step 5 While the calamari is cooling, very carefully remove the tails from the shrimp and discard (unless you removed them before boiling).
- Step 6 Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Step 7 Cut the protruding tail off the calamari tentacle and trim any long tentacles so they’re all roughly the same length. Discard. This is much easier to do when the calamari is cooked (doing it while the seafood is raw is very messy).
- Step 8 Add the calamari to the bowl with the shrimp.
- Step 9 Pour in a good amount of olive oil, enough to coat the seafood, but not so that the fish is swimming in oil. Squeeze 2-3 lemons over the seafood. (I like a lot of lemon, but you can add less if you prefer).
- Step 10 Add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 11 Mix everything together well and taste a piece to see if it needs more oil, lemon or seasoning. Serve at room temperature. Before serving, toss again and serve with lemon wedges.
- Step 12 Cook’s tip: once cooked and dressed, this dish can sit at room temperature for a while. If making the day before, refrigerate and bring to room temp before serving.