Italian Seafood Salad

Wondering how to make seafood salad? It’s much easier than you may think!

This Italian Seafood Salad, made with shrimp, calamari and lump crab meat, is one of the best and easiest seafood salad recipes you'll ever try.  #seafoodsalad #italianseafoodsalad www.savoryexperiments.com


 

Made with shrimp, calamari and lump blue crab meat, this Italian Seafood Salad is one of the easiest but most delicious seafood recipes you’ll ever make.

Italian Seafood Salad (Antipasti di Mare) is traditionally a Christmas Eve appetizer. Though I’d tried other seafood salad recipes in the past, I first learned about this simple recipe and tradition while traveling in Italy.

Though Italian Seafood Salad can be enjoyed throughout the year you will typically find Italian families enjoying it on Christmas Eve as the first course or an appetizer.

This Italian Seafood Salad, made with shrimp, calamari and lump crab meat, is one of the best and easiest seafood salad recipes you'll ever try.  #seafoodsalad #italianseafoodsalad www.savoryexperiments.com

Other times of the year you might see it served with bread or even on top of a fresh salad.

I can see why it is considered to be a special holiday recipe. After all, while many Italians eat seafood pretty regularly, most American families don’t… but this seafood salad recipe is so good that I can’t imagine just eating it once per year.

This Italian Seafood Salad, made with shrimp, calamari and lump crab meat, is one of the best and easiest seafood salad recipes you'll ever try.  #seafoodsalad #italianseafoodsalad www.savoryexperiments.com

You’ll find different variations of Seafood Salad with varying seafood ingredients. In this recipe, I stuck with shrimp, calamari and lump blue crab meat, but feel free to add cooked clams, mussels or large pieces of white fish.

Best seafood for seafood salad:

  • Shrimp
  • Crab meat
  • Lobster
  • Squid
  • Calamari
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Oysters

These three provide a variety of flavors and textures for the recipe. I’ve also seen recipes that include lobster or multiple varieties of shrimp, among other seafood.

You can, of course, just use one type of seafood or only two. It is totally up to you (and your budget).

How to Cook The Seafood

Shrimp– Of course you can buy shrimp already cooked, which would be the easiest option, but you can also cook raw shrimp. I don’t like to pan fry for this recipe because I don’t like the brown, but you can easily cook them on the stovetop.

  1. For 1/2 pound of shrimp, bring 2-3 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt to a boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the shrimp.
  3. Simmer, uncovered, for 1-3 minutes or until the shrimp turn opaque and tails curl, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook!
  4. Drain the shrimp in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Chill the shrimp until you are ready to use.

Scallops & Calamari– Scallops are best quickly pan-fried, but not enough to create a crust (browning). Luckily, smaller scallops tend to also have a good amount of liquid so they almost steam in a frying pan instead of actually frying. Use the same technique for calamari rings. They should cook at the same rate, so you can cook them together.

  1. Heat a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. If not using a non-stick pan, add a small amount of cooking spray or oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the scallops, turning with a spoon to cook until opaque, approximately 2 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess moisture.
  3. Chill until ready to use.

Lobster- If you using lobster tail, you’ll likely cut the raw lobster meat into smaller pieces to ensure that it all cooks thoroughly. You can cook it whole and then chop, but I find this easier so I can just use the same pan as the other seafood. Cooked langostinos are another good option and they generally come already cooked, but frozen so they only need to be thawed.

  1. Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut lobster into smaller, bite-size pieces.
  2. Heat a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. If not using a non-stick pan, add a small amount of cooking spray or oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the lobster pieces, turning with a spoon to cook until opaque, approximately 2 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess moisture.
  4. Chill until ready to use.

Crab meat should already come cooked.

This Italian Seafood Salad, made with shrimp, calamari and lump crab meat, is one of the best and easiest seafood salad recipes you'll ever try.  #seafoodsalad #italianseafoodsalad www.savoryexperiments.com

So, how to make seafood salad? It’s so easy!

Cook the seafood and the combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Many times you can even find the ingredients precooked at the store or ask the seafood counter to steam them for you while you shop.

This Italian Seafood Salad, made with shrimp, calamari and lump crab meat, is one of the best and easiest seafood salad recipes you'll ever try.  #seafoodsalad #italianseafoodsalad www.savoryexperiments.com

Refrigerate overnight or for at least 12 hours and serve cold. Even though it looks fancy, this could be the easiest Christmas appetizer you ever make.

The dressing is also simple – lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil with sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Simple but flavorful, it packs a punch!

I’ll be serving this as a holiday appetizer this year but I also look forward to enjoying it on hot summer days as a light lunch.

This Italian Seafood Salad, made with shrimp, calamari and lump crab meat, is one of the best and easiest seafood salad recipes you'll ever try. #seafoodsalad #italianseafoodsalad www.savoryexperiments.com

More seafood recipes:

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Crab Cakes Hollandaise

Crab Cakes Hollandaise is a decadently delicious dish that is perfect as an entree or as an appetizer. It is certain to wow your guests. 
See The Recipe!
angle view of seafood fra diavolo recipe on a black serving plate

Seafood Fra Diavolo Recipe

Sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce simmered with tender seafood like shrimp, scallops, calamari and more.
See The Recipe!
salmon pattie with white creamy sauce on top

Salmon Croquettes Recipe

Salmon Croquettes are a southern classic! Full of salmon, peppers, onions and seasoning, this versatile dish is sure to be loved by all!
See The Recipe!

Questions you might have about how to make seafood salad:

How far in advance can I make seafood salad? I like to make mine at least 12 hours in advance, but after 24 hours it can start to lose its texture.

Can I freeze seafood salad? I don’t recommend it. First, most seafood is previously frozen and you shouldn’t refreeze proteins.

The second is that the celery and roasted red pepper don’t thaw particularly well. You want the crunch of the celery and since it is made with so much water, you’ll lose that when it freezes.

Can I add onion? Of course! Onion and garlic are always welcome! Use a mini food processor to mince it smaller or a microplane to grate it.

Tools for making the best seafood salad:

Wood cutting board – wood won’t dull your knives like plastic and if treated properly, has natural antimicrobial properties.

Good knife – Global is my favorite! They are worth the price, I promise. I am kind of obsessed with them and store them tucked away so no one else can use them. Including hubby. Hands off my good stuff!

Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil– A good olive oil will taste like, well, olives, while a poorly made one will taste like vegetable oil. Gross. While people tend to favor Italian and Greek olive oils, I prefer to buy mine domestically.

There are some great ones out there from all over the world, but the reporting of ingredients isn’t always the same and you could find that your super expensive olive oil was actually cut with vegetable oil. 

This Italian Seafood Salad, made with shrimp, calamari and lump crab meat, is one of the best and easiest seafood salad recipes you'll ever try.  #seafoodsalad #italianseafoodsalad www.savoryexperiments.com
This Italian Seafood Salad, made with shrimp, calamari and lump crab meat, is one of the best and easiest seafood salad recipes you'll ever try. #seafoodsalad #italianseafoodsalad www.savoryexperiments.com

Italian Seafood Salad

4.31 from 26 votes
Made with shrimp, calamari and lump blue crab meat, this Italian Seafood Salad is one of the easiest but most delicious seafood salad recipes you’ll ever make. Perfect as an appetizer or light meal!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine shrimp, calamari, lump blue crab meat, celery, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, fine sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Toss well.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.
  • Keep cold.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!

Nutrition

Calories: 158 kcal, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Protein: 23 g, Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 236 mg, Sodium: 1027 mg, Potassium: 311 mg, Vitamin A: 115 IU, Vitamin C: 15.2 mg, Calcium: 93 mg, Iron: 1.4 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 158
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cold seafood salad, seafood salad
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.31 from 26 votes (20 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi! I just added a whole section on how to cook the seafood for you. Generally folks buy it already cooked at the Italian market, but if you don’t have one, then you’ll need to!

  1. 5 stars
    I love all types of seafood but you put three of my favorites in this delicious seafood salad! How perfect. I would love to make this for my next family brunch!

  2. 5 stars
    I live in South Florida (plenty of seafood here) and I’m always looking for good seafood recipes. This sounds like it would be great for an appetizer or even a nice lunch with a good bread and a chilled wine. This one will be a hit!

  3. 5 stars
    Is it problematic that it’s 10:30 AM and my mouth is watering over this seafood salad? It looks so, so delicious! I’d love to dive into this for lunch.