Friday, December 18, 2015

Italian Grilled Seafood Salad

Last Year's Post: Kale and Pancetta Salad
Two Years Ago:  Brie & Pomegranate Toasts

Seafood salads are a staple of Italian Christmas Eve dinners.  This one instantly transports you to Sicily with its combination of radicchio, orange and kalamata olives in addition to the shrimp and squid.  If you're like me and slightly squeamish about eating tentacles, make the salad with all shrimp instead.  (My Italian friend Angela is probably gasping in horror.)  Either way, it's a very healthy entree salad.  The sweet orange balances the slightly bitter radicchio, and the meaty olives and smoky seafood make it completely satisfying and perfect for a light dinner.

If you're not familiar with radicchio (rah-dee-kee-oh),  it's a leaf chicory (whatever that is) and it looks like this.

You'll find it with the vegetables in the produce section.  When I was going through the check-out line, the cashier (who I've seen there many times before) actually picked it up and said "I've never seen this before.  What is it?"  Really?  Anyway, it reminds me somewhat of cabbage in terms of texture.  The bitterness adds a nice element to salads that also have a sweet note.

Start by briefly marinating and then grilling some beautiful shrimp (and squid...if you're that type of person).

Next, prep the radicchio and greens.

Layer on the orange segments, juice of the orange, olive oil, and olives.

Finally add the shrimp on top.  The whole process takes less than 30 minutes and is very simple, but the result is special.

Italian Grilled Seafood Salad
Serves 4-6

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ pound fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, rinsed and patted dry
¾ pound squid, cleaned and patted dry (or substitute more shrimp)
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
1 cup radicchio, sliced
A good handful of Italian parsley leaves (about a ½ cup), washed and dried
1 orange

In a large bowl, add the zest and juice of the lemon, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.  Add the shrimp and squid (if using) and mix to combine.  Marinate for 10 minutes.

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high.  Place the seafood on the grill and cook until grill marks develop and the seafood is cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. (Tip: skewering the pieces helps in flipping.)  Remove from the grill and set aside.

Place the arugula, radicchio and parsley in a large shallow bowl or platter.  Peel the orange with a knife and cut each segment out between the membranes.  Drop the segments on top of the greens, then squeeze the orange over the salad to get as much juice as possible.  (Discard what’s left of the orange.) Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper.  Place the olive and shrimp on top and serve.

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