Antipasto di mare also known as “insalata di mare” or “frutti di mare,” which translates to “fruits of the sea” one of the popular seafood salad easy appetizers served in restaurants all over Italy, particularly those in the Mediterranean or near the ocean. Antipasto means “before the meal” and is the first course served before the main course in a formal Italian lunch or healthy dinner.
There are many versions of this scrumptious salad or “insalata” but most like to keep it light and simple to let the fresh and natural flavors of the seafood stand out. In easy healthy recipes, soles, red mullets, oysters, prawns, crayfish, octopus, clams, and mussels are cooked separately and mixed together then seasoned with a lemon and olive oil dressing garnished with chives for a refreshing and delicious feast. As a first course, this dish is glorious paired with Pinot Grigio, Bellet Blanc, Prosecco, Tocai Friulano, or Greco di Tufo. Baguette or ciabatta is also usually served alongside the antipasto for dipping in the juices of the seafood.
The most important thing to keep in mind when making this dish is to not overcook the seafood. This is the reason why they are cooked separately to make sure that they are done just right. The meat of the fish and shellfish should be moist, tender and juicy. Some like to blanche the seafood and cook it in the vinegar dressing overnight, chilling it inside the refrigerator. Overnight, the marinade cooks the flesh of the seafood and makes it scrumptious. In this recipe, the seafood is served on a bed of string beans and tomatoes.
Ingredients: 2 soles, 2 red mullet fillets, 4 oysters, 2 gambas (prawns), 2 crayfish, octopus, 4 clams, 4 mussels,
For the garnishing: chives, 2 tomatoes, string beans, lemon, pure cold-pressed olive oil
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Set up a bowl of ice and cold water nearby. Blanche the seafood one by one each for a minute or two and plunge them in the ice bath immediately after cooking. Season the fish with coarse salt and pepper. Cook in a sauté pan for about 3 minutes. While the fish cooks, place the string beans in the middle of the serving dish. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces and lay them in a circle around the dish. Place the fish on the serving dish. Arrange the seafood on the plate. Mix the olive oil, lemon, pepper, and fresh chive and spread over the seafood. In Italian, this is called “marecatta.”
On Christmas Eve, many Italian families observe the tradition of having only fish for dinner. This practice is called the La Vigilia or “The Vigil’ and also sometimes called the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” Insalata di mare is one of the most popular dishes served to begin the celebration of midnight birth of the baby Jesus.