Seafood salad is common in Italian American households especially on Christmas Eve, La Vigilia, and almost always an appetizer on menus of Italian American restaurants. As much as the seafood salad is popular in the States, in Italy one is more likely to find a simple salad like this calamari salad containing one kind of fish. The most important part of this recipe is not to overcook the calamari.
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- The whole peel and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 pounds calamari bodies and tentacles, cleaned, and bodies cut in 1/2-inch rings
- 1 cup pitted green olives, cut in slivers
- 4 inner stalks celery, with leaves, sliced thin on the bias
- 1 cup roasted red bell pepper strips
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1. Pour 2 inches of water into a large Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves and lemon peel, and continue to boil for a few minutes, until they release their aromas.
2. Set a colander or steamer over (but not touching) the water. Slip the calamari rings and tentacles into the colander or steamer, adjust the heat so the water is simmering, and cover. Cook until the calamari is just cooked through and has gone from opaque to translucent, about 6 to 7 minutes.
3. Combine the olives, celery, roasted pepper, salt, oregano, peperoncino, and lemon juice in a large bowl. When the calamari is done, add it to the bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, and toss. Sprinkle in the parsley, toss again, and serve warm or at room temperature.