So this is my last post before the Food and Wine Indaba 2012. I can’t wait to see everyone and connect and talk food and get all the latest Goss and try some new restaurants and markets! I am posting a traditional Italian Seafood Salad which may seem a little incongruent with the average temperatures in South Africa right now. As most of you know I live in Durban and both today and yesterday and most of the days before that, the average midday temperature is between 26 and 28 degrees. The weather is just totally awesome here right now. And we can still enjoy dinner al fresco and salads laced with delicious fish. This is our reward for living here………. And how blessed we all feel. Everyone from the people who walk along the beachfront at 5.3am every morning to the person in front of you in the bank queue at lunch time, has a smug and giddy grin on their faces and a spring in their step.
KwaZulu-Natal is the jewel in the Southern African crown at this time of the year. International events such as The Top Gear ‘Gedoente’ of last weekend come and go with throngs of people clad in not much more than -shirts and shorts. So forgive me if I don’t post a recipe for a 12 hours slow roasted leg of Venison with a kg of mash whilst I extol the virtues of Cab Sav and its ballsy hugging warm embrace.
Today I am posting for my fellow KwaZulu-Natalians. This pukka Italian seafood salad keeps and even improves with age. You will see a bowl of this in most Italian delicatessens, being sold by 100g and if you have any left over after five days you can pop it into a pasta sauce and finish it off. So, to the rest of Africa, which basically means Cape Town, turn up the heaters and get a sun lamp and pretend!
Make a large bowl of this, for it really does improve with age and can easily be re-invented and tweaked and grace your table for a good few incarnations.
Insalata di Frutti di Mare
1kg of King Prawns – de-shelled and de-veined
800g of cleaned Patagonian Calamari – bodies and tentacles
(You could add fresh mussels, clams or langoustine tails into this too
5 stalks of celery finely chopped
2 onions finely chopped
4 bunches of Italian Parsley finely chopped
8 lemons – juiced
4 cups of your best fruity and peppery extra virgin Olive oil
8 cloves of garlic minced
3 – 4tsp of salt
5 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper
1tsp of sugar
De-shell and de-vein the prawns. You can make a nice stock out of the prawn bodies and heads
which you can freeze to use in a sauce, risotto or paella at a later date.
Place the prawns in a pot and add just enough water to cover the prawns and 2tsp of salt.
Bring to the boil on your stove hob – the very second that the water boils remove the pot from the stove
and set aside to cool. This method with give you juicy and crunchy succulent prawns.
Do exactly the same with the calamari and set it aside to cool down. The slow cooling down process renders the
Very finely chop the celery and parsley and mince the garlic.
While your prawns and calamari are cooling down place the chopped celery, parsley and garlic into a
Add the juice of the lemons, the olive oil, salt and sugar.
Now, as is the case with any salad dressing you must taste it and adjust
it to your liking.
You may want to add
more lemon juice or more garlic or pepper – taste and adjust to your palette.
I love a bit of chilli so I will often chop
2 red chillies which will add a nice hit of colour and a bit of bite to the
Drain the cooled prawns and calamari and stir into the dressing.
Check again for
seasoning and serve.
This makes a
wonderful topping for pizza – make a plain Margerita sauce, top with some fresh
pecorino shaving and mozzarella if you like and drizzle this on top of your
pizza when it comes out of the oven.
This dish would also
be perfect as part of Antipasti – served with crostini, which is bread toasted
with a brushing of olive oil and rubbed with garlic or load them up onto some
I often used the left
overs of this salad as a pasta sauce – simply drain off the prawns and calamari
– fry the celery, garlic and parsley in some of the oil – cook you pasta and
once it’s tender simply add it to the cooked celery and garlic and add the
cooked prawns and calamari with a little of the pasta water to keep it nice and
I will be in Cape Town for the next 10 days – I am so looking forward to seeing you all at the Indaba, and
those who are not able to come will be sorely missed. I am planning a few nice meals out with
Daniele and Suzanne and a spot of Italian Cooking for some friends so I shall report back on my adventures and findings.