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Garden State Seafood Panzanella Salad

Executive Chef & Owner Jim Weaver
Tre Piani Restaurant
Servings: 2  
8 Little Neck Clams
4 large Sea Scallops
3 oz. Calamari
3 oz. Monkfish
½ cup large diced Jersey tomato
½ cucumber julienne (match stick size) or preferably cut on a mandolin to resemble spaghetti
¼ fennel bulb julienne (reserve a few fronds for garnish)
4 basil leaves roughly chopped

3-4 whole basil leaves for garnish
1 scallion cut on the bias into thin slices (reserve the green top for garnish)
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
½ tsp. Sea Salt
Black Pepper to taste
1 cup water
3 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 large baguette

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For the bread:

Remove the crust from the bread and cut into1/2 inch cubes. Lightly toast the bread in a 350 degree oven and set aside. You will need about ½ cup of toasted bread cubes for the recipe. The rest of the bread can be used for the optional garnish described below if desired.

For the vegetables:
Cut the tomato into large dice. Dice the cucumber and fennel into matchstick size pieces (julienne). Slice the garlic cloves. Cut the scallions into small slices on the bias. Roughly chop the basil (chiffonade). Reserve some scallion tops and fennel fronds for garnish. Keep all of this chilled until ready to use.

For the seafood:
Skin the monkfish and cut into bite size pieces.
Rinse the clams of any sand.
Peel the abductor muscle from the sides of the sea scallops.
Peel and clean the squid, pull the tentacles and all that are attached from out of the tube. Cut the tentacles off just above from where they start and discard the beak and eyes. Also remove the tough clear membrane from within the tube and discard. Slice the squid into ¼ inch rings.
Keep all of the seafood well chilled until ready to prepare.

Heat a large frying pan and add the olive oil. Season the scallops and monkfish with salt and pepper and sear them until browned on the outside, remove from the oil and reserve on a plate on the side. Add the garlic and let brown slightly, add the calamari and give a quick toss. Next add the clams and the water, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover until the clams begin to open and then return the scallops and monkfish to the pan. Cook covered until all the clams open. Try adding more water if clams do not open after 1- 2 minutes and adjust liquid to assure you have about ½ cup of liquid left when the dish is finished. Discard any unopened clams.

To assemble: Put the cut vegetables into a large bowl with the basil and season with salt and pepper. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vegetables. Just before serving toss in the hot seafood and half of the cooking liquid. Portion onto plates, garnish with the scallion sprigs and fennel fronds and pour the remaining seafood broth around each plate. Serve immediately.

Optional garnish:
Make toasted bread ring molds by taking a large baguette and slicing it lengthwise into ¼ inch slices. Grease metal ring molds with olive oil and wrap the bread around them. Tie with kitchen string and bake until golden brown in a hot 350 degree oven. Remove from the oven, let cool, remove the string and carefully remove the bread from the molds. You can put these in the center of your plate and fill with some of the salad for a dramatic presentation. Also garnish with the fennel fronds, scallion top and fresh basil leaves

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