Shrimp and Calamari Salad with Crispy Vegetables is a very easy and fresh Italian seafood salad, rich in flavors, textures and colors.
Insalata di Mare (Seafood Salad) is a classic of Italian cuisine. Of course, there are many variations under this name. For example, the classic octopus and potato salad is a seafood salad.
It depends on the type of fish used and the vegetables combined. We give you a very simple seafood salad recipe, with few but really delicious ingredients, which is great both cold and hot.
Just two kinds of fish: shrimp and calamari. Two kinds of fresh and crunchy vegetables: carrots and celery. We use raw vegetables that not only give freshness, but also provide the crunchy part of the dish in contrast to the softness of the fish.
A recipe of simplicity and lightness, but full of taste. Ideal as an appetizer or main course, especially in summer. In Italy we often use seafood salad for big occasions such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinner.
The secret of seafood dishes is definitely the freshness of the products. But the right cooking is also very important. You should not overcook calamari or it will become tough, while for shrimps a little blanching is enough. This is the only thing to pay attention to, besides cleaning the fish, if you do not buy it already cleaned.
Of course, you can also use frozen fish, but we recommend that you prefer fresh fish. Rely on your trusted fishmonger, the taste of your seafood salad will gain in quality and goodness!
Let’s see how to make Shrimp and Calamari Salad with Crispy Vegetables!
- Italian stuffed Calamari recipe
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- Shrimp and Zucchini Risotto
- Shrimp and Calamari Skewers
Shrimp and Calamari Salad with Crispy Vegetables
- Prep Time: 20 Min
- Cook Time: 5 min
- Servings: 4
- 600 g (1 1/3 pound) of calamari
- 400 g (~ 1 pound) of shrimp
- 2 medium lemons
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- fine salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 50 ml (~3 tablespoons) of extra virgin olive oil
BEFORE YOU START! You can use fresh or frozen calamari and shrimp. If you use frozen fish, remember to defrost it in the refrigerator for a few hours before using it.
You can buy already cleaned calamari and shrimps or ask your fishmonger to clean them for you. Sometimes, however, you may need to clean the squid and shrimp yourself before cooking them. If this is your case, read carefully the paragraphs after the recipe instructions, “How to Clean Calamari” and “How to Clean Shrimp”.
We start to show you how to make this seafood salad assuming that CALAMARI AND SHRIMPS ARE ALREADY CLEANED.
Step 1) – Bring about 2 liters (8 1/2 cups) of water to a boil in a pot. Add half a tablespoon of coarse salt and the juice of one medium lemon.
Step 2) – When the water comes to a boil, add the cleaned calamari and wait 3 minutes for it to come back to a boil.
At the end of the 3 minutes, add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes maximum. Drain and set aside.
PLEASE NOTE: Cooking time is very important. Calamari should take about 5 minutes to cook in boiling water. Of course, this depends on the size of the calamari, which can be very large. We used medium sized squid (about 12-15 cm/4-6 inches without tentacles).
Prick the squid with a fork and check the tenderness of the flesh. If more minutes pass, the squid meat will tend to harden. To regain its tenderness, you will have to cook it much longer (at least 40 minutes) and lose its flavor.
For shrimp, cooking for 1-2 minutes is really enough.
Step 3) – Prepare the vegetables. Wash the carrots and celery. Peel and remove the strands.
Cut the celery into rounds and the carrots into sticks that are not too thin so that they remain crisp.
Step 4) – Cut the squid into fairly thin rings. You can cut the shrimp into two or three pieces or leave them whole. It depends on your preference and the size of the shrimp.
Combine the fish and vegetables in a bowl. Choose a large bowl so you can easily toss and mix the seafood salad.
Step 5) – Season with extra virgin olive oil and the juice of a medium lemon. Mix thoroughly.
Step 6) – Add a little salt, pepper and chopped fresh parsley. Mix again.
Your Calamari and shrimp salad with crispy vegetables is ready! Simple and very tasty!
PLEASE NOTE: We recommend preparing the salad at least one hour in advance and keeping it in the refrigerator. This gives the fish a chance to marinate in the dressing, making it even more flavorful and tender.
How to Store Shrimp and Calamari Salad
You can store Shrimp and Calamari Salad with Crispy Vegetables in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Freezing is not recommended.
You can freeze the cooked calamari and shrimp without seasoning. Thaw them at room temperature and season as needed. Of course, this is only possible if you have used fresh, unthawed fish.
How to Clean Calamari
Cleaning squid is one of the those things that many consider to be the most boring in the kitchen. Sometimes even complicated. In reality, it’s much simpler than it looks like. So let’s see together how to clean calamari in few easy steps!
Step 1) – First, remove the tentacles. So, grab the squid’s head with one hand and its body with the other. Gently pull the head to remove the entrails. Then remove the hard clear cartilage from the body.
Step 2) – Remove the horny beak located in the center of the tentacles, the eyes and all the surrounding part with the help of scissors or a knife.
Step 3) – Remove the skin and rinse the calamari tubes under running water to remove any residue, being careful not to break them. Wash also the inside of the calamari tubes and the tentacles as well, to remove any residual sand. Dry with kitchen paper and set aside, ready to be used in your fantastic stuffed squid recipes!
How to Clean Shrimps
To clean shrimps, first remove the heads. Then remove the shells. Finally remove the black intestinal thread by gently pulling it out.
Shrimp and Calamari Salad: Some Variations
This recipe is a seafood salad very easy and quick to make. The characteristic feature of this recipe is the crunchiness of the raw vegetables.
Of course, you can enrich or change this recipe according to your taste, while maintaining its characteristics.
Here are some ideas!
Add Mussels and Clams
In addition to shrimp and calamari, you can also add mussels and clams. These shellfish also cook very quickly.
Add Fennel and Bell Peppers
Other vegetables that add crunch when used raw are fennel and bell peppers (red). These vegetables, cut into strips, will add flavor and color.
Add Apple Slices
A few slices of green apple, crisp and tart, also work well in this recipe.
If you like the aroma of garlic, you can add a clove cut in half.
Let the garlic release its aroma for at least an hour. Then remove it before serving the salad. To find the garlic pieces easily, you can stick them in a toothpick before combining them with the fish.
Seafood Salad with Giardiniera
If you like vinegar, you can substitute it for lemon in the dressing.
Some people, especially if they do not have fresh vegetables on hand and like vinegar, use giardiniera to dress seafood salad.
Giardiniera is a typical Italian vegetable appetizer. They are cooked in vinegar in a way that preserves their color and crispness.
With Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes
You can place calamari and shrimp on arugula salad and top with cherry tomatoes.
Add Olives and Capers
Add olives and capers or boiled potatoes.
Seafood Salad with Octopus or Cuttlefish
You can also use other fish, such as octopus or cuttlefish, which take longer to cook.