Mario's Seafood Salad
In central and southern Italy, a traditional Christmas Eve dinner always includes seafood. Chef Mario Batali's seafood-salad recipe is perfect for Christmas Eve or any time fresh fish is available. Ideally, you should buy the fish on the morning of the meal.
- 6 slices baguette
- 3 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise, plus 2 cloves, thinly sliced
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 24 Prince Edward Island mussels
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, lemon reserved
- 1 pound calamari, cleaned, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips, tentacles left whole
- 1/2 pound jumbo lump crab meat
- 1 two-pound lobster, steamed, chilled, shelled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and julienned
- 1 green pepper, roasted, peeled, and julienned
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 2 bunches chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
Heat broiler or grill. Toast bread slices for 1 minute on each side. Rub one side of each slice with half of a garlic clove. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. Add thinly sliced garlic, 1 cup white wine, 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, and mussels. Cover, and cook until they are completely open, 3 to 4 minutes. Strain, and allow mussels to cool. Remove from shells, and discard.
Prepare an ice-water bath. In a 6-quart saucepan, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil with lemon juice and lemon half, the remaining 1/2 cup wine, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes. Plunge calamari into the boiling water and cook until just opaque, 25 to 45 seconds. Remove from water with a skimmer or slotted spoon; immediately plunge into ice-water bath to stop the cooking, and drain.
In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the seafood, peppers, the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil, the red-wine vinegar, chives, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pink peppercorns and garlic toasts.