One of the joys of summer in North Carolina are trips to the beach. Whether it is Topsail, Kure, Atlantic or Bald Head Island the beach brings one into close proximity of fresh local seafood. By grilling the seafood you are imparting a smokiness that should accentuate the freshness of your fresh seafood. Be careful to not overcook the seafood, especially the calamari. The fresh vinaigrette will keep this dish light as opposed to North Carolina’s famous Calabash which features fried seafood. Serving this dish on a bed of lettuce with toasted baguette will qualify as dinner. If you were to serve in a cocktail glass a hearty appetizer will please your guests. This is a taste of my Southern Italian Heritage geared toward the bounty of Coastal North Carolina.
Insalata Frutti de Mare
- 1 ½ pounds NC large shrimp (21/24), shelled and deveined
- 1 ½ pounds baby squid bodies and tentacles, cleaned
- Canola oil, for brushing
- Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound NC Scallops, picked over
- 1 Piquillo Pepper, drained and thinly sliced
- 1 large Stalk Celery, Finely Diced, Plus leaves for garnish
- 1 small Red Onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 sliced Blood Orange
- 1 bulb Fennel sliced thin
- ¼ cup Sliced pitted Kalamata olives
- ¼ cup toasted Pignoli Nuts
- 1/2 cup Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
- 1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Spanish Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Zest and Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
- Heat a charcoal or gas grill to high temperate for direct grilling.
- Brush the shrimp, scallops and squid with canola oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill until slightly charred on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes for the shrimp and scallops; as well as 5 minutes for the squid bodies and tentacles, cut squid into rings.
- Combine the shrimp, squid, scallops, peppers, celery, onions, olives, fennel, parsley and blood orange in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- May serve in a martini glass or on a bed of lettuce.
Recipe by Chef Joseph Fasy.