Italian Seafood Salad

seafood salad

Seafood salad is traditionally served on Christmas Eve, actually as far back as I can remember this salad was always the first course to a massive Christmas Eve spread, it wasn’t often that we had lobster as kids so this salad was extra special to us and one we looked forward to having. Those flavors and memories have stayed with me my whole life and I love continuing the tradition in my own family.

 

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to wait until Christmas Eve to make this amazing salad, actually any special occasion will do, it’s perfect for entertaining as well as having it for a delicious light meal on a hot summer day. Just pick and choose your favorite seafood and put it together,  it’s easier than you think!assorted seafood

For my salad this year I chose bay scallops, calamari, lobster, and two different types of shrimp which have distinctly different tastes. Many Italian families add octopus, baccala, (salt cod) mussels, clams and scungilli or conch, but this is my favorite mix and one that all my guests love, but again you can make it your own with your favorites.

 

To save time I always get cleaned calamari and peeled and deveined shrimp it makes the process go quick and easy and a little more enjoyable.poached seafood

You’re going to poach all the seafood one at a time in an infused poaching liquid and it’s not going to take very long, just a minute or two. I like to use a spider strainer so I can remove the seafood really fast then directly stick it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process, when cooled down place the seafood on paper towels to soak up the excess water.seafood salad

The simple bright and fresh lemon and olive oil dressing is what brings all the components together harmoniously.seafood salad

When tossed together you want those flavors to marinate for at least a few hours but even better overnight, just pull it from the fridge and let it warm up a bit before serving.

This salad will become your go to special occasion salad and your guests will go crazy over it. This will grace my table this Christmas Eve and throughout the year.

Wishing all my Dear Readers a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy Holiday!

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week.

Italian Seafood Salad
 
You can choose any seafood combination you wish, the amounts really don't matter, just adjust the veggies and dressing to accommodate
Author:
Ingredients
  • This is my seafood combination which made a big platter full.
  • 1 lb. bay scallops
  • 1 lb. shrimp, some whole, some sliced horizontally for a nice presentation, make sure tails are pulled off
  • 1 lb. calamari with tubes and tentacles, tubes sliced into ½ in, strips
  • 2 small lobster tails, removed from the shell
  • 2 fennel bulbs sliced thin
  • ½ large red onion, diced small
  • 3 whole celery stalks with leaves, chopped in small slices
  • a big handful of pimento stuffed green olives, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • lemon slices from one lemon
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • chopped parsley
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • POACHING LIQUID
  • water in a medium stock pot, a good splash of white wine, 2 bay leaves, 1 of the 4 cloves of crushed garlic, salt, pepper and 3 lemon slices.
Instructions
  1. Prepare poaching liquid, get it to a boil then place seafood in one at a time. Bay scallops about 2 minutes, taste one to make sure, calamari, one or two minutes, shrimp until they turn pink and the lobster three to five minutes depending on the size, it will turn pink and curl up.
  2. Use a spider strainer to take them out of the liquid then place directly into an ice bath to stop the cooking process, you want all your seafood to be tender and not overcooked.
  3. Drain onto a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  4. When seafood is all cooked, chop up all your veggies and place into a big bowl, along with the olives.
  5. Add the prepared seafood into the large bowl.
  6. Add the three remaining garlic cloves and toss gently.
  7. MIX UP YOUR DRESSING;
  8. Half lemon juice to half olive oil with a squeeze of dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Whisk it up until it's nicely incorporated.
  10. Drizzle over your salad coating all the seafood and tossing so the garlic and veggies get incorporated.
  11. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, taste for seasoning.
  12. Spoon it into a pretty platter, add some lemon slices, more parsley and a drizzle of olive oil all over.
  13. Cover and let it sit in fridge for at least a few hours or overnight, let it warm up a bit before serving, but don't serve at room temp it needs to be cold.

 

Signature

Shrimp Pasta with Spinach and Sundried Tomato Cream

shrimp pasta

Here’s a quick meal for this busy time of year, it’s my shrimp pasta with spinach and sundried tomato cream. It comes together in no time at all and it’s something you can easily make on a busy mid week day. It has just a handful of ingredients but when mingled together create a scrumptious combination. pasta and shrimp

I chose a store bought, fresh made pasta that I bought from my local Italian market, I used two different kinds that were actually flavored with spinach and tomato and combined them both just to fancy it up a bit, but honestly any dried fettuccine style pasta would do.

Also whether you use frozen or fresh shrimp it’s very important to pat it dry, you don’t want any water clinging on to the shrimp, otherwise your sauce will become watery. I like to layer my shrimp between paper towels just to make sure all the moisture is out.cooking pasta

Fresh pasta cooks up in just a couple of minutes, over cooking it will make it gummy and soft and you don’t want that, so a quick plunge into boiling water keeping it nice and al dente.

shrimp pasta

The sauce and all the ingredients are tossed into one pan and finished in the time it takes to cook the shrimp, which is just a few minutes.shrimp pasta

There’s no exact recipe for this but I’ll give you the general amounts that I used. I like to have more shrimp to pasta ratio it keeps the dish a little lighter.

It’s fresh, easy to prepare and tastes amazing, a nice change after all the turkey and trimmings we just had!

Follow me on Instagram to see what I’ll be cooking up during the Christmas season.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Shrimp Pasta with Spinach and Sundried Tomato Cream
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. shrimp, cleaned, deveined with tails removed, patted completely dry
  • fresh or dried pasta, fettuccine style ( I used less than ½ pound)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes packed in their flavored oil
  • a big handful of fresh baby spinach
  • ½ to ¾ cup of heavy cream
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • fresh chopped parsley
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Get your salted water boiling for the pasta.
  2. In a skillet drizzled with olive oil add the garlic and red pepper flakes until slightly golden and fragrant.
  3. Add in the shrimp.
  4. When shrimp is finished cooking drop your pasta and cook very al dente if fresh, if using dried pasta follow time on box for al dente time.
  5. Into the skillet toss in the sundried tomatoes with oil, (the oil will flavor it nice) and heavy cream, it should thicken quickly.
  6. Toss in your spinach at this time.
  7. When pasta is cooked, drain and toss it into the skillet with all the ingredients, tossing and coating the pasta with the creamy sauce.
  8. Garnish with parsley.
  9. NOTE:
  10. You can use ½ lb of shrimp with less pasta, more sundried tomatoes, more cream if you want it creamier, more spinach. Don't get hung up on the amounts, you can't go wrong.

 

Signature

Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes Shaved Garlic and Feta

shrimp with feta

Whoever said that cheese and seafood is a bad combo? Well I’m here to say that it isn’t so, especially in this dish that features shrimp with feta cheese.

This is a variation of the famous Greek Saganaki, there are so many variations of this dish from the ingredients to the way it’s prepared but it’s the Greeks that deserve full credit for this delicious combination of flavors.shrimp with feta

This is a one pan wonder that’s surprisingly easy to make for a mid week meal and equally as special enough for entertaining, all you’ll need is crusty bread to scoop up and dip into that incredible sauce!shrimp with feta

I’ve made this several times and my tomatoes of choice are roasted cherry or grape tomatoes, I prefer them over canned I think it really makes a difference, fresh is best and fortunately for me even in the colder months I’m able to find decent tasting cherry or grape tomatoes.

I can’t stress enough the importance of using quality ingredients in this dish, a good block of Greek feta should be used, not the crumbled pieces in a container that you can buy, heavens no, also you’ll want to use some beautiful wild caught shrimp.

FYI, if you’re lucky to have a Trader Joe’s near you my favorite shrimp of choice currently is their frozen wild Argentinian large red shrimp, peeled and deveined, it tastes so amazing, I always keep a couple of bags in my freezer, but of course any fresh or frozen wild caught shrimp will do.

The vessel you make it in is important also, it’s best when made in a shallow baking dish something like an au gratin pan, you wouldn’t want to use anything too deep.

It’s bold and flavorful with a flavor combination that you’ll be craving, I can’t wait for you to try this!

Follow me on Instagram where you can check out what I’m cooking up daily.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes Shaved Garlic and Feta
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. wild caught shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails kept on. ( It's important not to have any moisture on your shrimp so I like to layer my shrimp between paper towels to soak up any moisture and to insure they are dry with both fresh and frozen.)
  • 2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3 large cloves of fresh garlic, shaved
  • 1 cup of good quality authentic Greek feta, block style
  • olive oil
  • dried oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • parsley or basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a foil lined rimmed baking pan place your slice tomatoes, shaved garlic and a good drizzle of olive oil making sure to cover and toss tomatoes with it, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until tomatoes burst and juices flow.
  3. While the tomatoes are roasting toss the shrimp into a bowl with salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Take your roasted tomatoes and place them into your shallow baking dish making sure to get all those garlicky juices with a rubber spatula to help.
  5. Position and nestle your shrimp into the garlicky tomato mixture and juices, place into your 400 degree oven and roast until you start seeing the shrimp turn pink.
  6. Pull it out then crumble the feta all around in medium chunks.
  7. Finish cooking it with a quick minute or two under your broiler to get a little golden on top.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil.
  9. Enjoy, and don't forget the crusty bread!

 

Signature

Shrimp, Pasta and Broccolini in Tomato Cream + A Pastaiola Giveaway

shrimp pasta and broccolini Happy National Pasta Day! Who doesn’t love pasta? It delicious, comforting, it comes in endless shapes and sizes and can be made countless ways with a variety of different sauces. It’s also crowd pleasing, a great party food, present at many family dinners and dinner for one. Many fond memories have been etched in our minds recalling favorite pasta dishes made by our dear loved ones hands.

So in honor of the day I made you a luxurious pasta dish that includes shrimp and broccolini in tomato cream sauce, and you won’t believe how quick you’ll get it to the table!

Lagostina Pastaiola  To further celebrate and to make you feel like an absolute pro in the kitchen, the generous team at Lagostina is giving away this gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, Hammered Copper Pastaiola pot to one lucky reader of mine.

Lagostina Pastaiola

Here are some of the features

·          Lagostina Martellata Tri-Ply Copper 6 qt. Covered Pastaiola features durable tri-ply construction for lasting utility plus thermal efficiency courtesy of a heat radiating, encapsulated aluminum core

·         Brushed 18/10 stainless steel interior will not react with food

·         Polished, hammered copper exterior looks striking on a stovetop and enhances heat conductivity

·         Compatible with most stove types, except induction

·         Oven safe up to 500º F

·         Polished, snug-fitting stainless steel lid helps prevent heat and moisture from escaping

·         Sturdy, riveted cast stainless steel side handles for confident handling

·         Flared edges for dripless pouring

·         Comes complete with a stainless steel pasta insert

·         Copper, aluminum and stainless steel

·         Hand wash

·         6 qt. capacity

Valued at 249.99

marinara in pastaiola First thing I did with my pastaiola was make a big pot of marinara, I normally keep a stash in my freezer and I was running low. I’m happy to say I was able to fit two gigantic cans of tomatoes both over five pounds each into the pot with no problem, so you’re going to love how deep it is! It will be perfect for making future stocks and seafood boils because of it’s deep size.

marinara in pastaiolashrimp and broccolini

This pasta dish comes together quickly once you have all your ingredients ready so when you begin to make the sauce get your water boiling!

Add some garlic and olive oil to a pan then toss in shrimp, (I had eight large) and steamed broccolini, when the shrimp is cooked remove and set aside.

tomato cream sauce Deglaze the pan with three cups of marinara, preferably homemade or a good quality store bought brand then splash in about a quarter cup of  heavy cream, stir and combine then it’s time to bring back the shrimp and broccolini.

boiling pasta Did you know there are over 600 known shapes of pasta? I love seeking out different and unique shapes, for this dish I used Festoni, it’s like a pappardelle with ruffled edges.

drained pasta Looks done to me, nice and al’dente, now It’s time to drain it and toss it into the creamy tomato sauce making sure everything gets coated well. ( I used 8 oz. here)

shrimp pasta and broccolini Silky, slurpy and luxurious!

shrimp pasta and broccolini

Happy Pasta!

CONTEST IS OVER AND CLOSED

 

( Disclosure: I received one pastaiola for review, and as always opinions are my very own)

 

Signature

Shrimp Risotto with Asparagus, Peas and Pepper Rings

shrimp risotto with asparagus, peas and peppers

Risotto really isn’t a difficult dish to make it just takes commitment, there’s stirring involved and you have to pay close attention, it’s a labor of love but the end result is so worth it and it ends up all in one pan!

You can make a simplified version any day of the week or you can jazz it up for a special occasion with impressive results.

Be creative, there are hundreds of variations to try, but make it your own using the flavor combinations that you like, you can never go wrong, the rice is your blank canvas.

ingredients for shrimp and vegetable risotto

Some of the basic rules for making a perfect risotto, besides stirring is to use a short grain rice like arborio or carnaroli, it’s going to give you that creamy texture and bite you’re looking for. Another essential is a good, heavy bottomed pan, never use nonstick!

Next, your going to need some hot broth simmering on the stove, then a little butter, olive oil, onion, cheese and wine, things you usually have stocked in your home and whatever veggies, herbs and proteins you want to add in.shrimp risotto with asparagus, peas and peppers

I used shrimp, asparagus, peas and mini peppers that I cut into rings. All veggies and shrimp were pre-cooked ahead of time and tossed in after the basic risotto base was made.

shrimp risotto with asparagus, peas and peppers

I could be happy with just the the veggies and creamy rice all by itself but the roasted shrimp takes it over the top!

They say your not suppose to mix cheese with seafood, well too bad, I broke the rules, because a little Parmigiano Reggiano never hurt anyone and besides it truly heightens the flavor of the whole dish, so go on and be a rebel!

Shrimp Risotto with Asparagus, Peas and Pepper Rings
 
A one pan meal that is simple, elegant, creamy and sophisticated
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 quart boxed chicken broth, or homemade or vegetable if you wish
  • 1 cup of arborio rice, or other short grained rice
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, fresh or frozen but patted dry
  • 1 lb. asparagus, fresh cut on the diagonal
  • 1 heaping cup of peas, frozen and defrosted
  • 1 small bag of mini peppers, red yellow and orange cut into rings
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ to ¾ cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Foil line a rimmed sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and roast shrimp at 4oo degrees until plump and pink, remove and set aside.
  2. Roast asparagus as well in seperate pan, drizzled with olive oil at 400 degrees, set aside.
  3. Defrost peas, set aside.
  4. In a small saute pan, stove top cook pepper rings until soft and slightly golden colored, set aside.
  5. In a heavy bottomed pan add 1 table spoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil then toss in the onion and cook until soft.
  6. Pour stock into a separate pot and start to heat up, when completely heated keep it on a simmer.
  7. On medium heat, toss in the rice and toast it up a bit, stirring and coating it in the butter and olive oil.
  8. Deglaze with the wine, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely dissolved.
  9. Start adding 1 cup at a time of the hot stock with pan still on medium heat stirring until liquid is absorbed, when pan starts to look dry add more broth 1 cup at a time.
  10. Stir, stir, stir while adding the hot broth, you might have a cup of broth leftover, or you might use it all depending on creamy result of rice.
  11. The end result should be a little soupy, creamy and the rice should have a little bite to it, al dente but not rock hard or mushy, you have to be the judge.
  12. Remove from heat, stir in remaining butter, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
  13. Toss in the roasted cooked shrimp and all juices on the pan and lastly add in the cooked vegetables.

 

Signature

Dinner Party Worthy, Shrimp and Artichoke Risotto

I made this recently and it was such a big hit I wanted to share!  Succulent tiger shrimp with fresh artichoke hearts, sitting on a bed of creamy risotto.
The flavor was super enhanced by this fabulous roasted garlic olive oil I received from Colavita. I love their olive oils but I never tried their roasted garlic version, all I can say is you need a bottle of this in your kitchen! I had a few fresh artichokes ( you could use frozen, I wouldn’t use canned) that I cut, quartered and steamed, then tossed them into the garlic oil and placed them in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes, the flavor is addicting!
I did the same thing with the shrimp, tossing them into the roasted garlic oil, sprinkling them with salt, pepper and a little peperoncino. I roasted the shrimp Ina’s way on a baking sheet for 5 or 6 minutes at 400 until the shrimp are cooked through. This method is full proof, cooks perfect every time!
The risotto itself was made with 1 box of chicken stock that was warmed in a pot on my stove and
 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice.
In a heavy bottomed pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sweat 1/2 diced onion. Add the rice, stirring and coating it with the butter and oil. Saute for a couple of minutes but don’t brown it, then add 1/2 cup of white wine and let it absorb. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and let all the liquid absorb, then add another ladle and repeat the process stirring constantly.
I tossed in a handful of frozen peas along the way, added fresh snipped basil and parsley and a touch more butter in the end.
Pour your creamy warm risotto on a nice big platter and lay your roasted artichokes and shrimp all around.
The roasted garlic flavor took the risotto to another level, there wasn’t one grain of rice left!

Signature

Roasted Tomato Shrimp

This is one dish I make often, I always seem to have shrimp either in my freezer or fresh, sometimes I toss in spaghetti, or if we’re not in a spaghetti mood I might make some couscous on the side to serve with it, but one of our favorite ways to eat this is by putting the whole pan right in the middle of the table surrounded by other little small bites and appetizers.

What you have here is the intensely concentrated flavor of tomatoes that have been roasted with shaved garlic, olive oil and thyme. The tomato’s of choice are either grape or the Campari variety on the vine, or a mixture of both.

Roasting your tomatoes ahead of time can place this dish on your table in less than 15 minutes.

For a pound of shrimp coat your pan with a generous drizzle of olive oil, add to your pan 4 cloves of shaved garlic, saute til golden, add shrimp and a good splash of white wine. When the shrimp turns pink and is almost cooked through add in your roasted tomatoes and toss. Garnish with chopped parsley and fresh basil.

Buon Appetito!

Signature

GRILLED PESTO SHRIMP WITH ROASTED TOMATO SPAGHETTI

I love pesto! or for that fact, anything with basil, so it’s no wonder that I always keep a jar of it stocked in my pantry,or in my freezer when I make it homemade. I think it enhances a lot of dishes and it’s a way to add a lot of flavor. Pesto is exceptionally good when brushed on shrimp, and oh so easy to prepare!


I decided to grill my shrimp inside because A, it’s too cold outside!!, and B, I wanted a good excuse to use my new Le Creuset grill pan!! I love the size of it, not too big, and not too small, fits perfectly on one burner, and great for grilling shrimp. But of course any indoor grill pan will do.

Another thing I always have in my house, are those sweet little Campari tomatoes, I always have a bowl of them sitting on my counter. To make this sauce, I just slit the top and bottom of each tomato, put them on a cookie sheet with olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Roast them at 400 Degrees till they pop open a little, and the juices start to run. Pour everything over some hot pasta, oil and all,, and mix in some fresh basil!

If you don’t feel like having pasta, the shrimp certainly stands alone by itself, I usually marinate them for about an hour in a ziplock bag with just some crushed garlic, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. When they’re on the grill, then I brush them all over with the pesto.

BUON APPETITO!!

Signature

PENNE W/SHRIMP & BROCCOLI AGLIO OLIO!!

If you are opting for something a little lighter before the big turkey showdown this is a quick and light meal to make. Hubby and I had this last night. I usually always have a bag of shrimp in my freezer, it’s something easy to defrost and quick to cook!

THIS IS ALL YOU DO:

Put a pan of water on for your pasta, when it boils blanch the broccoli for 1 minute and scoop out with slotted spoon, then drop pasta in the same water and cook al dente.
While that’s cooking, saute at least 4 cloves of of shaved garlic with olive oil till golden, then you want to put your shrimp and broccoli in the oil and saute, next deglaze everything with some white wine. When the sauce reduces a little and all the flavors are blended, put in your pasta so it soaks up the sauce, add salt & pepper to taste, and in this case I added some sun dried tomatoes, which I think adds color and flavor. That’s it!!!!

Buon Appetito

Signature