Ok so I’m Sicilian and all my life, have thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Eve and the feast of the Seven Fishes…and the likelihood of also seven or so other side additions and seven to ten pies, cakes and cookie options for dessert! Things this year however, have been made much more simple.
We recently moved and I’m due to pop with baby #3 any day now (she’s actually late) so standing over the sink and cleaning all the fish this year was not something I wanted to commit to, especially knowing my mom had to work. So sad, because although it takes a few hours to clean and cook all that fish, I LOVE IT and could eat it weekly if someone else would just do the work. Many non Italian friends have laughed about this seafood dish throughout the years because of the octopus and the scungilli…some wouldn’t taste it, the ones who did were converted! This year though, there would be no laughter, because sniff sniff, there would be no fish salad.
We planned to do some light easy appetizers, Spaghetti Frutti di Mare, and one dessert (and some biscotti). Well…the more I thought about it, the more I rationalized that I had everything in the house except the fish and I just couldn’t not have it, because my pregnant self was craving it (let’s blame the pregnancy cravings that seems more rational that to just say I HAD TO HAVE IT!!)
So I went nuts calling around here to find out who sold the fishes we normally use. No luck until the last call, but they were sold out. I know where to order from at least, but that didn’t help me for today. Shrimp however, I already had in the freezer from Whole Foods. So I said what the hell? I’m gonna make just a Shrimp Insalata di Mare. My mom gave me a look like “Why bother?”. I gave her one back like “WHY NOT?!” , and then got started.
When it was done, I realized this is quick version, that I should’ve been making year round for YEARS as a healthy lunch option, and I will likely now do this much more often! This is also a very nice appetizer dish for when you have non-Italian friends over who eat shrimp but not all the other delicious things you grew up eating! Just saying….no one in the house is going to be upset that I did this when it comes time to eat…I know because I already had a little hehe (hey the Cook has to taste test for salt you know!)
Shrimp Only Simple Insalata di Mare
Cleaned, deveined, tail off shrimp (about 2 lbs-I really cheated and bought it already in the bag this way!)
1 head of organic celery sliced
1 can of black olives sliced
Lots of garlic cloves crushed or finely minced…I probably used 20 cloves of garlic (sue me)
Juice of 2 lemons
EVOO (very fresh, very good quality one, 1/2 cup or more adjust as you see fit)
1/2 a bunch of fresh parsley chopped finely
Salt to taste, I apologize I’ll measure everything next time I make it, I do everything by eye!
Toss everything together in a bowl and refrigerate marinate over night. Enjoy!!
You could add other things too, but this is the simplest form you can get, this literally took me 20 minutes to throw together! Buon Natale and I wish you all a Happy New Year too!