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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.

  • servings: 6


  • 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


  1. Step 1

    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.

  2. Step 2

    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.

  3. Step 3

    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.

  4. Step 4

    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.