Italian Seafood Salad

Preparation info

  • Makes about 1⅓ cups , enough for


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

Hot pepper vinaigrette is the ideal accent for this southern Italian seafood salad. When fresh crabmeat or shrimp are available, we like to to use them. Smoked trout is a rich and interesting alternative; just be sure to remove all of the bones.


  • ¾ cup thinly sliced red onions
  • ¾ cup Hot Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 2 bunches watercress, large stems trimmed (about 2 cups loosely packed)
  • 12 medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, and poached in white wine or water just until cooked through, about 4 minutes or
  • ½ pound crabmeat, picked over for shell and cartilage or
  • 1 smoked trout, skinned, boned, and broken into strips about 2 inches long
  • 2 small oranges, peel and all white pith removed, sliced crosswise and seeds removed, or 1 large navel orange, peel and pith removed, cut into segments


    Toss the onions with ¼ cup of the vinaigrette and let marinate to soften them a bit.

    Toss the watercress with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and arrange in a bed on each of 2 salad plates. Top with the marinated onions. Toss the shellfish with most of the remaining vinaigrette and add to the salads. Arrange the orange slices on top and drizzle with the last of the vinaigrette. If you are using smoked trout, put the strips of trout and the orange segments atop the onions and watercress and drizzle well with vinaigrette.

    To make Hot Pepper Vinaigrette, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan until quite hot but not boiling. Drop in a pepper flake; if the flake skips on top of the oil and doesn’t burn or sink, add the rest of the pepper flakes and remove from the heat. Let the pepper flakes steep in the oil about 30 minutes, then strain and let cool. This is called olio santo, or hot pepper oil.

    Whisk the hot pepper oil and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. You may need to add a little more olive oil if the hot oil is too hot. Pepper flakes vary wildly in degrees of hotness and so do people’s capacities to take the heat.