Carmelina’s Christmas Fish Salad | Wine Enthusiast
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Bowl full of shrimp, squid, octopus and lemons

Carmelina’s Christmas Fish Salad

Courtesy Carmelina Pica, Enoteca Maria, Staten Island, NY

On New York City’s Staten Island, Jody Scaravella’s restaurant, Enoteca Maria, has a different nonna (grandmother) prepare the food of her region on a rotating schedule. The Naples-born Pica is renowned for her fresh, bright seafood salad, a southern Italian staple at any Christmas fish feast.

“We make a lot of things, like this fish salad, baccalà and shrimp. We make capitone, the eel,” says Pica of her family’s traditions for the vigilia. “We make everything, all kinds of things, for my family.”


1½ pounds squid, cleaned
1 pound medium-sized shrimp, cleaned
1 pound octopus, cleaned (can also purchase high-quality canned version)
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 medium size red onion, chopped small
5–6 pieces celery, center stalks only, diced
1 red sweet pepper in vinegar, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 lemons, juiced
½ cup green and black olives, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste


Boil squid (15 minutes), shrimp (3 minutes) and octopus (1 hour) individually. Strain and place into bowl. Refrigerate until chilled.

Slice squid into ½-inch rings. Chop shrimp and octopus in small pieces. Mix with remaining ingredients together in large bowl. Serves 8–12.

Pair It

Mastroberardino 2017 Nova Serra (Greco di Tufo). White spring flower, ripe orchard fruit and white almond aromas take center stage. On the round, fresh palate, a light mineral note adds depth to mature yellow apple, juicy pear and tangy lemon zest.

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