Family Meal: Susannah’s Salad Insalata di Mare
At our restaurants we are guided by listening and learning from the stories of our team, particularly the ways our families, upbringings, and lineage have shaped the way we consider, source, prepare, and share food.
Our series Family Meal spotlights recipes from different members of our team that have — in some way — informed the way they cook today. Today, we’re sharing an Italian seafood salad from Susannah Liquori, the co-operator of the forthcoming Gj Flower Shop and nursery, both opening this fall in Venice.
Susannah, along with with co-operator Bailey Higgins, were both born in New York but grew up in Los Angeles, “which is not the only thing we have in common,” Susannah explains. “While I was studying art, Bailey majored in museum and curatorial studies a mere 15 blocks away in New York. After both spending just under a decade on the East Coast we both returned to West LA and began our solo floral journeys. We both have a deep-rooted fascination with nature and desire to support the health of the floristry ecosystem.”
Gj Flower Shop will offer flowers and arrangements grown by local flower farmers (some of whom will be growing certain blooms exclusively for the shop). The shop will also introduce its own cutting garden that implements compost made from the Gjusta, GTA, and Gjelina food scraps, closing the loop on our efforts to maintain sustainable production across our restaurants.
Leading up to the opening of the shop, we joined the duo at Susannah’s West LA home to share her family recipe, an Italian seafood salad enjoyed as part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional holiday feast eaten on Christmas Eve.
“My exposure to my Italian heritage was always illustrated through food,” explains Susannah, whose father’s family immigrated and settled in the Bronx, which at the time was heavily Irish. “The backbone of our family recipes came from my Nanna Irene, her five siblings, and husband Angelo, who found it difficult (even embarrassing) to assimilate to American life. For example, my Grandmother’s name until late in my life was “Ann.” It wasn’t until my father tried getting her a passport that we found out her birth name was actually “Italia.” The cultural repression ran very deep, but food and drink remained our common thread, and are traditions I’m proud of continuing.”
“The dish I made that reminds me most of my family is one of many we make on Christmas Eve when we cook the feast of the seven fishes — an Italian Catholic tradition. I grew up without any religious focus but it was simply a festive fish feast I always looked forward to. This dish has four types of fish, and to complete the seven fishes it is usually served with an anchovy dish, a pasta with clams or mussels, and bacalao.”
Susannah’s Seafood Salad Insalata di Mare
•1 lb. fresh whole small squid
•1 1⁄2 cups fresh lemon juice
•1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil more to taste
•Chopped fresh parsley
•Salt to taste
•10 large shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined, and quartered
•1 cup cooked lump crabmeat
•1 lb. cooked lobster meat (save the shells to make stock after)
Clean your squid. Put bodies and tentacles in a medium pot, and cover with 4 cups cold water, 1 cup lemon juice, and 1 tbsp. salt.
Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squid is tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain and rinse squid in cold water. Cut squid bodies cut into 1⁄2” rings. Set aside.
Whisk together olive oil with the remaining 1⁄2 cup lemon juice and parsley in a bowl and season to taste with salt.
Add squid, shrimp, crab, and lobster.
Add more olive oil, lemon, salt, and finish with parsley.
Bailey’s Amaro Spritz
1.5 ounces Amaro Angeleno
3 ounces Prosecco
Splash of Soda Water
Orange, to garnish
To make, fill a wine or cocktail glass with ice. Add ingredients, stir, and garnish with an orange wedge.
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