One of my favorite dishes is squid salad, the calamari
all’insalata, that my father prepared
with diligence and love at the Focacceria Palermitana in Brooklyn, NY.
I followed his simple recipe and method with meticulousness, to
make this superb and incomparable dish.
Our customers enjoyed it as an appetizer, or as a main dish, utilizing the dressing to dunk the fresh and delicious
Palermo style bread we served with their meal.
The calamari salad was
prepared and seasoned a day ahead, to let the ingredients blend and absorb the flavors, so it would acquire the
taste of our celebrated seafood salad.
The ingredients used are few, and never mixed with vegetables like celery or carrots which would have taken away
from the mild taste of the calamari and of
the sapore di
mare, the taste of the ocean of the salad.
4 lbs squid, cleaned and boiled as per instructions in the preface
2 medium size fresh, frozen or precooked conchs, scungilli.
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
peperoncino, hot red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup of chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic sliced very thin
In a small pot, place the precooked scungilli, 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in water), 1 bay leaf,
little salt, cover scungilli with
water, add another cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes.
If raw scungilli
are used, add 2 cups of water and cook for 1 hour. Shut off heat;
using a slotted spoon, remove the scungilli, set aside to cool; reserve the water. When the water is
cold, strain it; it will be used to make the dressing.
Slice the scungilli
about a ¼ inch thick and set on the side.
In a large bowl, whisk together the juice of the remaining lemons, the olive oil, a few pinches of black pepper,
peperoncino flakes (optional) and half of the parsley. Combine with the
dressing the sliced scungilli and
calamari, rings and tentacles. Barely cover with the
reserved scungilli’s water and add any salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the salad the next day. When ready to serve, add freshly sliced garlic and garnish with remaining parsley. We
used to serve the calamari salad with a
lettuce salad dressed with olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.
Calamari Salad can be the base for a memorable
antipasto with the addition of boiled shrimps, scallops, polpo
and other boiled fish.
If the only scungilli available are canned, purchase 2 cans of 6.5 oz.; preferable buy
Monica Scungilli; drain the liquid from
cans and place the scungilli in a small pot
with 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in water), 1 bay leaf, a little salt, cover scungilli with water, add 1 additional cup of water and bring to a boil. Shut off
heat; using a slotted spoon, remove the scungilli, set aside. Reserve
the water and when it is cold, strain it; it will be used to make the dressing.