I don’t often use the “best-ever” term for any of my recipes but in this case I couldn’t resist. This is really an outstanding dish. Fresh, aromatic, vibrant and absolutely delicious. Calamari and shrimp, dressed in a parsley-coriander-mint pesto, served on a bed of fresh spinach leaves. You can add any other seafood you crave, like mussels, scallops or crab. The pesto will work wonderfully with any of these. You can prepare the seafood and dressing in advance and let it marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours. It will even taste better.
For the salad
- 500 grams small calamari, sliced in 1 cm circles (leave tentacles whole)
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 200 grams pealed shrimps, cooked
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 spring onion, sliced
- 2 Tbs pine nuts, lightly toasted
For the dressing
- 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
- ½ cup mint leaves
- ½ cup parsley leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
First make the dressing. Pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender until finely chopped and emulsified. Set aside until needed.
Heat the 2 Tbs olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the calamari in batches, for 30 seconds to one minute per batch, stirring frequently, until cooked and opaque. Don’t over cook it or it will become rubbery. You will know it’s cooked once it’s opaque and no longer translucent. Remove calamari with a slotted spoon. Continue with the next batch until all the calamari is cooked.
Put all the cooked calamari in a colander and leave to drain and cool for about 15-20 minutes. Put cooled calamari in a bowl and add the cooked prawns. Mix in all the dressing. It might seem too much, but it’s not. Cover bowl and set in the fridge for 2 – 24 hours.
When ready to serve, mix the spinach leaves and spring onions in a large bowl. Add half the seafood, season with salt and pepper and mix again. Put in a serving platter (choose a rather shallow and wide serving dish). Top with the remaining seafood and garnish with the pine nuts. Serve at once.