Seafood Panzanella Salad



8 littleneck clams, rinsed of sand
4 large sea scallops, muscle removed
3 ounces calamari (squid) rings
3 ounces monkfish, skinned and cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup large diced tomato
1/2 cup julienned cucumber
1/4 fennel bulb, julienned; reserve a few fronds for garnish
4 basil leaves chiffonade; plus a couple of whole leaves for garnish
1 scallion cut lengthwise into thin slices; reserve the green top for garnish
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper to taste
1 cup water
1 large baguette


Remove crust from the bread. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Lightly toast bread in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven and set aside. You’ll need about 1/2 cup of toasted bread cubes for the recipe. Heat a large saute pan. Add olive oil. Season scallops and monkfish with salt and pepper. Sear until browned on the outside, remove from oil and set aside. Add garlic and brown slightly. Add calamari and toss quickly. Add clams and water, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover until clams begin to open. Return scallops and monkfish to the pan. Cook covered until all clams open, about 1 minute. You may have to add more water if the clams do not open. Make sure that you have about a 1/2 cup of liquid left when the dish is finished. Put cut vegetables into a large bowl with basil. Season with salt and pepper. Add bread cubes and toss. Just before serving, toss in the hot seafood and half of the cooking liquid. Portion onto plates, garnish with scallion sprigs and fennel fronds. Pour remaining seafood broth around each plate.


Recipe credit: Chef Jim Weaver, New Jersey chef, 2004 Great American Seafood Cook-off.