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Frutti di Mare

Provided by Mel & Sheryl London

The multi-purpose seafood salad has been our special New Year’s treat. Prepared in advance, you can truly be a guest at your own party. It’s perfect for a buffet, a summer luncheon or a first course dinner. It is the ideal one dish centerpiece to serve for an Italian Christmas Eve feast – the Virginia di Natale”; the traditional seafood meal eaten before or after midnight mass, an exhausting feast which debatably requires between seven and thirteen fish and seafood courses.

This modern version blends and satisfies Italian tradition without tiring the cook by eliminating the preparation of many individual dishes.

Frutti di Mare


  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Pinch sugar
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 2 or 3)
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced celery (about 2 or 3 ribs)
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced parsley
  • 2 teaspoons nonpareil capers
  • ½ pound cooked lobster meat, cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 quart fish stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound monkfish fillet, cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 ½ pounds scrubbed & de-bearded mussels (about 1 quart)
  • 1 pound medium shrimp
  • 1 pound cleaned, preferably small squid, bodies sliced into ¼ inch rings,
  • tentacles left whole
  • Romaine leaves, cut into ½ inch wide strips (optional)


n a large bowl, add the zest, lemon juice, vinegar, Tabasco, salt & pepper and the sugar. Whisk to combine and slowly whisk in the canola oil and the olive oil. Stir in the scallions, celery, parsley and capers. Then add the lobster and set aside.

In a 5 quart Dutch oven or a 12 inch saute pan with a tight fitting lid, bring the fish stock and the wine to a boil. Add the monkfish, lower the heat and cover tightly. Poach about 5 minutes or until tender. Remove the monkfish with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl. Add the mussels to the pot, cover tightly and raise the heat to medium-high, sliding the pot over the heat once or twice for 3-5 minutes or until the mussels open. Lift out the mussels and put them into a second bowl to cool slight for easy handling.

Add the shrimp to the pot and cook, covered, for 2 minutes. Then remove and add the bowl of mussels. While the shrimp and mussels cool, add the squid and cook, covered, for 1 minute, until opaque. Do not overcook or the squid will toughen. Remove the squid with a slotted spoon and combine in the bowl with the monkfish. Let the fish stock cool.

When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove them from the shells and add them to the large bowl. Shell and de-vein the shrimp and cut them in half lengthwise, also adding them to the bowl. Stir, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 24 hours, stirring once in a while during that period.

Strain and freeze the liquid for another use.

When ready to serve, taste to adjust the seasoning. You may want to add more Tabasco or lemon juice or salt and pepper. Serve cold on a bed of cut Romaine for a crisp contrast in texture.

Prepare a minimum of 8 to 24 hours in advance. Makes about 8 to 10 servings.



MEL & SHERYL LONDON are the authors of eleven cookbooks, including “A Seafood Celebration” and “The Fish Lovers” Cookbook.” They are winners of the James Beard Award and the Tastemaker Award and were finalists for the IACP Cookbook Award for “The Gourmet Garage Cookbook.” They have been loyal and loving customers of The Lobster Place since the company first opened its doors in Chelsea Market.