Shrimp and Scallop Salad with Orange Sections

Insalata di Mare con Arance

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • For

    6

    persons

Appears in

Marcella Cucina

By Marcella Hazan

Published 1997

  • About

Anyone whose acquaintance with Sicilian food is limited to restaurant fare would be puzzled by the claim that this is one of the world’s most refined and elegant cuisines. If I hadn’t had the good fortune to eat splendid home-cooked meals in Sicily, I would have been disinclined to learn more about the island’s food, but the flavors I experienced at such good tables as those of Tommaso d’Alba and Anna Lanza encouraged me to broaden my knowledge of the cooking. In the search for local dishes I often employed one of the best recipe-hunting techniques I know, questioning chance acquaintances at the source.

Actually, Antonino Tamburello was not that much of a chance acquaintance; he was my taxi driver for a week in Palermo. As soon as he realized I was more interested in the address of a good cassata place than in the Norman chapel, he began to describe the dishes his wife made. One of them is this seafood salad with oranges. I tried it the moment I got home, I have made it several times since, and each time I am astonished at its beauty and at its ambrosial, Garden-of-Eden freshness of taste.

Antonino had said, Make sure you use the scallops’ coral. I couldn’t bear to tell him that in America scallops are not brought to the market live in their shell. Only the white, pluglike muscle is shipped, and the shell, along with the bivalve’s delicious—but very perishable—ovary sac is discarded. Instead of slicing the orange, as I had been instructed, I separated it into sections and peeled each section, and, if not the taste, at least I had the look of the scallop’s crescent-shaped, orange-colored egg sac.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 pound raw medium shrimp in their shells
  • 1 pound bay scallops or sea scallops cut in half
  • 5 medium oranges
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper ground fresh

Method

  1. In two separate saucepans bring water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 tablespoons vinegar in each pan. (If you don’t have two saucepans, you can execute this step in two stages using the same saucepan twice.)
  2. When the water comes to a boil, drop the shrimp into one pan and the scallops into the other. Cook the shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on their size, and the scallops for about 1 minute, until their color turns a flat white. Drain immediately.
  3. Shell the shrimp, remove the vein that runs down the center of their back, and put them in a bowl together with the drained scallops.
  4. Peel four oranges. Slip the blade of a sharp paring knife in between the sections to detach from the pulp the thin membrane that encloses each section. Lift out the membrane-less sections and remove any seeds. Set aside.
  5. Detach the lettuce leaves from the head, discarding any bruised or wilted leaves. Wash the leaves in several changes of cold water and shake dry in a towel or in a salad spinner. Cut the leaves into strips about ½ inch wide.
  6. Cut the remaining orange in half and squeeze it.
  7. Combine the shrimp, scallops, and orange sections in a bowl, add the orange juice, salt, olive oil, and liberal grindings of pepper, and toss thoroughly.
  8. Choose a shallow—neither too deep nor too flat—serving platter. Line it with the strips of lettuce and top them with the shrimp, scallops, and orange sections, distributing evenly over them all the seasoning in the bowl. Serve at once.