Shellfish and Seafood Saute
This seafood saute is composed of the freshest seafood you can get at your market. Yours will vary from the chef’s original because he prepared his with seafood available along the French Mediterranean coast. For that reason, the ingredients list suggests items to look for; you will need to create your own combination from what you find in the market. Use the finest olive oil you can find. Chef Cerutti prefers to chill seafood over ice rather than in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t pick up tastes from other foods.
- Octopus - 1 (1 lb), cleaned
- Lemon - 1/2
- Bay Leaf - 1
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Lemons - 4
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 2-1/2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup
- Clams - 16 (choose the heaviest)
- Dry White Wine - 1/4 cup
- Calamari - 1 pound small, cleaned
- Prawns - 12 jumbo, shelled, heads and tails left on
- Cuttlefish meat - 8 ounces, cut in 4 pieces
- Fish Stock - 2 tablespoons (alt. clam juice)
- Almonds - 16, halved
- Black Olives - 20, pitted
- Lemon - 1/2
- Red Pepper Flakes - 1/2 teaspoon dried
- Romaine - 12 leaves, cleaned and separated
- Salt - Pinch
To prepare the octopus: Start 12 to 24 hours ahead of time: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and plunge the octopus into the water. Add the lemon and bay leaf, reduce the heat, and cook 35 minutes. Let cool completely, drain, and cut into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper and toss with the garlic and rosemary, and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator; maximum flavor develops at 48 hours.
To dry the lemons: Preheat the oven or a drying cabinet to 170 F (low). Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the lemons into very thin crosswise slices on a mandoline or V-slicer, or even an electric meat slicer. Place on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the slices are dried; do not turn the slices during the drying process.
To prepare the seafood: Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet and add the clams. Add the wine, cover, and steam the clams for 3 – 4 minutes, until they open. Remove the clams from the heat, reserve 12 in the shell, and remove the meat from the remaining shells. Return the clams in the shells to the skillet and add the clam meat, calamari, stock, drained octopus, garlic, and olives. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. In a separate skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and add the prawns. Sprinkle with salt, brown slightly on one side, and turn. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Place the cuttlefish pieces in the pan with the prawns and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
Set a medium glass bowl in a large bowl filled with ice. Place paper towels on the ice around the edge of the small bowl and put the prawns on the paper towels to chill. Place the cuttlefish in the glass bowl to chill. With a slotted spoon, remove the seafood in the other pan and place in the glass bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over the seafood. Stir in dry red pepper flakes. Taste the sauce which is left in the pan; if necessary, adjust with salt. Pour over the chilling seafood.
To serve: When the seafood has chilled: Cut the romaine leaves into an arrowhead shape. Place three opened clams in their shells on each serving plate. Lean one piece of cuttlefish against a clam shell on each plate. Divide the seafood mixture among the plates. Place each shrimp on a romaine leaf and put three on each plate. Whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil into the sauce remaining in the glass bowl and drizzle this dressing over the dishes. Put a final drizzle of olive oil over each dish.