Seafood Salad

4.89 from 9 votes

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Calling all my seafood lovers 📢 – let me introduce you to my take on an Italian Seafood Salad, also known as “Insalata di Mare“. Seafood salad is a classic Italian dish known for its fresh and tender seafood and bright and flavourful dressing. When I created this version, I knew I wanted to add my own Modern Nonna spin without compromising on the traditional components that make this dish iconic.

Since then, this dish has become a staple in our household not only during the holiday season🎄 when we partake in the tradition of “Feast of the Seven Fishes” but also during hot summer months when all I crave is light and citrusy meals. Trust me, give this seafood salad a try, it will blow you away!

Seafood Salad for Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a cherished Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition. It involves serving a variety of seafood dishes and is born out of the custom of abstaining from meat on this holy night. The feast is typically comprised of seven different types of fish 🐠, each symbolizing spiritual completeness. In my family, we gather around the table each year to enjoy this seafood celebration!

Why You’ll Love Seafood Salad

Not only will this salad impress any seafood lover you serve it to, but it will give you a restaurant-quality Italian dining experience. The seafood is tender and practically melts in your mouth 🤤, while the sweetness of the tangerine and tanginess of the lemon takes this salad to a whole other level.

Moreover, this salad is versatile enough to be enjoyed all year round. While I made this recipe with octopus 🐙, shrimp and squid, you are free to use any seafood of your choice. Serve this salad as an appetizer, side or enjoy it as a main course – it’s truly the ideal seafood meal!

How to Prepare Seafood Salad

🐙 Rinse the octopus with cold water. To a big pot, add water, celery, lemon, bay leaf, peppercorns, a wine cork and salt. Let it come to a boil and dip the tentacles in and out of the water 3 times so they curl. Now, place the whole octopus inside and let it simmer on medium-low heat for 40-45 minutes or until tender. I like to cover it with a lid making sure to leave an opening.

🔪 You should be able to insert a knife easily into the thickest part of the tentacle. When the octopus is done, take it out with tongs, let it cool, split it in half and cut it into equal size pieces. Set aside as you work on the shrimp and squid.

🍋 In a separate pot, add water, add the halved lemon, tangerine, bay leaves and salt. Let it come to a boil, and reduce the heat a bit.

🦑 Add in the squid rings and tentacles and poach (boil) for 2 minutes only. Take them out and set aside.

🦐 Now take the shrimp and poach it in that same pot for 2 minutes as well. Take it out and cut into pieces or leave it whole while you prepare the dressing.

🍊 In a mason jar, measuring cup, or bowl add all of the ingredients for the dressing. I add olive oil, tangerine and lemon juice, minced garlic, honey Dijon mustard, salt, parsley and whisk well.

🍽️ Add the seafood into a big bowl, pour the dressing on top and mix it all together. Feel free to taste and adjust for salt and acidity. If you want extra dressing, you can easily double the dressing recipe and use as much as you like. Serve it at room temp and enjoy!

Nonna’s Tip 🐙

You can purchase pre-cooked octopus, but the outcome won’t be as good. If you buy raw octopus, make sure it’s already cleaned so you can boil it right away without any extra preparation. Keep in mind, adding a wine cork into the poaching water makes the octopus more tender.

Seafood Salad

Variations and Substitutions for Seafood Salad

  1. If you feel intimidated by preparing the octopus 🐙, feel free to leave it out and use any other seafood instead. You can poach shrimp, squid, and scallops in batches for two minutes and use that for your salad instead.
  2. Get creative with the citrus flavors by using grapefruits, oranges or limes in addition or instead of the lemon and tangerines.
  3. Want to add a hint of spice 🌶️? Consider adding some red chilli flakes into the dressing and/or poaching liquid.
  4. Customize the dressing by adding herbs like parsley or cilantro for a hint of freshness.
  5. Experiment with different poaching liquids for the squid and shrimp by adding fish or vegetable broth into the pot to ehnance flavor.

Other Seafood Recipes

Best Served With

  • Serve this salad as an apptizer, pairing it with some crusty bread like my No-Knead Peasant Bread.
  • Place this seafood salad on a bed of arugula or mixed greens for a more substantial salad or light lunch.
  • To enjoy this seafood salad as a main, pair it with some pasta like linguine or serve it alongside some basmati rice for a more wholesome meal.
  • Serve this seafood salad with a crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
Description Product Image Product Name / Primary Rating / Price Primary Button
The Ultimate Soup Pot
  • This 8-quart stock pot is perfect for making large batches of soup, stew, sauce, or spaghetti. It's a great addition to your cookware collection.


Nonna's Pick
  • This cutting board is not only aesthetically pleasing but will last you for years and years!

Must Have
  • This knife is my most used tool in the kitchen. The love I have for this knife is unmatched.

Favorite Salt
  • This is the salt that I have used for years in all my cooking!

The Ultimate Soup Pot

This 8-quart stock pot is perfect for making large batches of soup, stew, sauce, or spaghetti. It's a great addition to your cookware collection.


5.0
$169.99$129.99
Nonna's Pick

This cutting board is not only aesthetically pleasing but will last you for years and years!

4.6
$69.95
Must Have

This knife is my most used tool in the kitchen. The love I have for this knife is unmatched.

4.6
$179.95
Favorite Salt

This is the salt that I have used for years in all my cooking!

4.5
$20.99 ($0.40 / Ounce)
02/21/2024 01:26 am GMT

Common Questions

Can i buy pre-cooked octopus?

Yes, you certainly can. Using pre-cooked octopus can save time in the preparation process for your seafood salad recipe. However, when using pre-cooked octopus, it’s important to note that it may already be seasoned or prepared in a certain way, so it could impact the overall flavor of the dish.

what can i use instead of octopus?

If you feel intimidated by preparing the octopus, feel free to leave it out and use any other seafood instead. You can poach shrimp, squid, and scallops in batches for two minutes each, and use that for your salad instead.

where can i buy good quality seafood?

Visit a trusted local fish market or seafood shop in your area. These markets often source fresh seafood directly from fishermen or local suppliers, ensuring better quality and a wider selection. Some larger supermarkets also have dedicated seafood counters that offer fresh catches.

How do i know the octopus is cooked?

You should be able to insert a knife easily into the thickest part of the tentacle.

why do we put a cork in the boiling water?

Adding a wine cork into the poaching water makes the octopus more tender.

Seafood Salad

Italian Seafood Salad

Not only will this salad impress any seafood lover you serve it to, but it will give you a restaurant-quality Italian dining experience. The seafood is tender and practically melts in your mouth 🤤, while the sweetness of the tangerine and tanginess of the lemon takes this salad to a whole other level.
4.89 from 9 votes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian, Mediterranean
Servings: 6
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients 

The Octopus

  • 1.5 lbs octopus, (700 grams) cleaned
  • 1 celery rib, quartered
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1 wine cork (optional), tenderizes the octopus

Shrimp and Squid

  • 4 squid tubes, (400 grams)
  • 8 tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 tangerine, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch salt

The Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tangerines , juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup parsley , chopped
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste

Instructions 

The Octopus

  • NOTE: octopus is incredibly easy to prepare but if you feel intimidated, feel free to leave it out and use any other seafood of choice. You can poach shrimp, squid, and scallops in batches for 2 minutes each, and use that for your salad instead. I buy my octopus already cleaned out from the store so make sure to tell your fish monger or seafood department to clean it for you if needed.
  • Rinse the octopus with cold water. To a big pot, add the water (3 litres). Add in the celery, lemon, bay leaf, peppercorns, a wine cork and salt. Let it come to a boil and dip the tentacles in and out of the water 3 times so they curl.
  • NOTE: The initial hot water dip causes the tentacles to curl and the skin to tighten so that it is less likely to split during cooking. We add a wine cork inside the water as it's known to make the octopus more tender.
  • Now, place the whole octopus inside and let it simmer on medium-low heat for 40-45 minutes or until tender. I like to cover it with a lid making sure to leave an opening.
  • You should be able to insert a knife easily into the thickest part of the tentacle.
  • When the octopus is done, take it out with tongs, let it cool, split it in half and cut it into equal size pieces. Set aside as you work on the shrimp and squid.

Shrimp and Squid

  • NOTE: I buy whole squid with the tentacles attached, but you can buy the squid tube only if you wish. If the squid has a gladius (or pen) which looks like a long piece of plastic in it, please discard.
  • I wash and dry the squid, remove the tentacles that are inside and set them aside as we will cook them as well. I cut each squid into 1/4-1/2 inch circles and place it in the bowl with the tentacles.
  • Make sure the shrimp has thawed and it's peeled and deveined. You can buy it deveined already and just peel it or buy it fully peeled and deveined as well.
  • In a pot, add water, add the halved lemon, tangerine, bay leaves and salt.
  • Let it come to a boil, and reduce the heat a bit. Add in the squid rings and tentacles and poach (boil) for 2 minutes only. Take them out and set aside.
  • Now take the shrimp and poach it in that same pot for 2 minutes as well. Take it out and cut into pieces or leave it whole while you prepare the dressing.

The Dressing

  • In a mason jar, measuring cup, or bowl add all of the ingredients for the dressing. I add the olive oil, tangerine and lemon juice, minced garlic, honey Dijon mustard, salt and parsley. Whisk well.

Assemble

  • Add the seafood into a big bowl, pour the dressing on top and mix it all together. Feel free to taste and adjust for salt and acidity. If you want EXTRA dressing, you can easily double the dressing recipe and use as much as you like. Serve it at room temp and enjoy!
  • You can prepare this salad 12 hours in advance and refrigerate it to let all the flavors meld together.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 150mg, Sodium: 1485mg, Potassium: 687mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 937IU, Vitamin C: 54mg, Calcium: 147mg, Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian, Mediterranean
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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