La Nebbia’s Calamari Salad is Perfect for Spring Entertaining

La Nebbia_Calamari SaladPhoto Credit: 

When we’re craving authentic Italian cuisine — delectable platters of melt in your mouth prosciutto, crisp bruschetta slathered with mashed fresh fava beans, and thin pizzas covered in panna, sausage and wilted greens — we head to chef Massimo Conti’s La Nebbia. Conti is a maestro of genuine and delicious Italian food as seen at Noe Valley’s La Ciccia, where he focuses on elevated Sardinian cuisine, and the aforementioned more casual La Nebbia. A charcuterie haven with an extensive wine list and more broad approach to Italian food, La Nebbia is a neighborhood gem with an unparalleled selection of prosciutto, jamon, and salami.

La Nebbia's Prosciutto di San Daniele platter.
La Nebbia’s Prosciutto di San Daniele platter.

Photo Credit: Katie SweeneyOnly eight legs of a special 24-month aged prosciutto from San Daniele are imported into the U.S., and six of them go to chef Conti. All of the wines are from regions in Italy that are foggy, which is where the name La Nebbia (it means fog in Italian) comes from. One of our must orders at La Nebbia is an interesting and scrumptious calamari salad. It’s refreshing to find calamari on a menu that’s not fried and La Nebbia’s light, citrusy, salty salad is so good that we asked the chef to share the recipe! Here’s how you can make Conti’s savory calamari salad at home.

Wondering what to pair with the salad? Chef Conti says, “we like to pair the dish with a white wine from Alto Adige Pinot Bianco Schulthauser 2012. It has refreshing fruits like lemon and honeydew, good minerality with an elegant balance and clean finish, the perfect paring! We currently pour it by the glass.”

La Nebbia’s Calamari Salad
Serves 4 to 6
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig of rosemary
3 anchovy filets
2 lb fresh calamari, cleaned, sliced and tentacles
½ orange, zest and juice
½ lemon, zest and juice
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
¾ cup of cured Italian olives, sliced
1 tablespoon of washed salt cured Italian capers
3 stalks of celery, cubed
1 bunch Italian parsley (not stems), coarsely chopped
½ lb frisee or curly endive
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan, add the garlic and the rosemary let simmer for a minute or until the garlic becomes nice and gold (but not dark in color).
  2. Remove garlic, add 2 of the anchovy filets and let simmer until they dissolve completely in the oil.
  3. Remove the rosemary, increase the heat and add the calamari, cook for 20 seconds, add ½ of the orange juice, ½ of the lemon juice and ½ of the vinegar.
  4. Finish cooking for 1 more minute or until the calamari start changing color. Remove from the stove, transfer the containing to a bowl add the zest of the citrus and let cool in a ice bath or as fast as you can (the calamari need to remain nice and soft). Once the calamari are cool remove the cooking juices from the bowl, but retain aside 2 to 3 tablespoons to incorporate in to the dressing.
  5. Add the olives, the capers, the celery, most of the parsley and most of the dressing, mix well all the ingredients and let it sit for about 20 minutes in a cool place.
  6. When we are ready to assemble the salad, dress the frisee with remaining dressing and transfer to a serving platter, taste the calamari and adjust the salt and pepper. Place the calamari on top of the frisee on the serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

For the dressing: Combine ½ of the juice of the orange, ½ of the juice of the lemon,  ½ of the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 of the anchovy filets, and the cooking juices of the calamari.