The seafood salad is a rich and delicate dish, perfect to eat on a boat trip during a hot summer day, or on a beach front restaurant at sunset. Here’s the recipe to make this dish of authentic flavors!
The seafood salad’s history is relatively recent but its origins are unknown. Some say that it was first a working-class dish eaten by fishermen with the leftovers from a day’s catch. Today the seafood salad is a refined dish that is enjoyed all along the Italian coasts, with variations depending on the regions.
In Sicily, the seafood salad is made with octopus and is served cold or lukewarm. The Sicilian seafood salad is often served as an appetizer during cocktail hours or as a main dish in fish-based dinners. The seafood salads are versatile that can be cooked and eaten in many ways, but their unique taste is reminiscent of this paradisiacal land bordering the transparent waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
The secret to making the Sicilian seafood salad is that the octopus must be as fresh as possible. It should be made with the catch of the day, or with frozen octopus, whose taste in the salad is distinctive, direct and complete to make the tasting experience delicate and light!
The first thing to do to prepare the Sicilian seafood salad is heat up a full saucepan of salted water. Once the water starts to boil, drop in the octopus from the tentacles. The cooking of the octopus depends on its weight and to check if it is well cooked, pierce it with a fork. When the octopus meat is completely tender, you can turn off the heat.
Be careful to not cook it for too long or else the consistency will be gummy. When the octopus is fully cooked, let it cool down in its cooking water until it is completely cold. After draining it, decide whether you want to remove its skin or use it inside the salad. This is optional and won’t change anything in the taste of the final dish.
Cut the octopus in little pieces and put them in a salad bowl with the anchovies, the parsley, the tomatoes cut in two, the olives, and the celery chopped in little pieces. Season the seafood salad with Extra Virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Mix well and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.
There are two traditional Sicilian methods to make the octopus as tender as possible. The first is to remove its fibers by crushing it with pestle before cooking it. The second way is to put the octopus in the freezer for a couple of hours before cooking it, without letting it freeze completely.