Insalata di Cape Sante

Bertram, on the left, with the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in the background.

Insalata di Cape Sante

After finding a photo of my beloved grandfather taken near Harry’s Bar, Venice in 1945, I decided to make one of their dishes: Insalata di Cape Sante (sic). I swapped the scallops (capesante) for sepia (cuttlefish) and it was very tasty. I served my Insalata di Capesante alongside my fig & rosemary focaccia and chilli jam.

Insalata di Cape Sante

225g sepia, cleaned
5 tbsp olive oil
100g crimini mushrooms; sliced
100g ripe tomatoes
flat-leaf parsley
25ml balsamic vinegar
100g peppery rocket leaves
Himalayan pink salt
Freshly ground black pepper


To prepare the sepia, pull the head away from the body. Then taking a sharp knife, cut through the base of the tentacles just below the eyes; discard the body end. Squeeze the base of the tentacles and pull out the hard beak and dispose. Take the body and break skin by one of the side flaps. You should now be able to remove all the skin by pulling and running your fingers under it. Discard the skin and side flaps. Rub your fingers over the tentacle to remove any of the little hard discs that may be there. You can now rinse the body and tentacles under running water.

Take the sepia body and score the skin on the diagonal at 2cm intervals, turn the body through 90º and repeat the process. You should cook sepia hot and fast: so get a griddle nice and hot before adding a little olive oil. Then place on the body, cut-side down onto the hot griddle along with the tentacles. Cook for 1 minute either side. Remove to a cutting board and cut into smaller pieces. Meanwhile put a wide-bottomed pan on a medium heat, add a little olive oil and cook the mushrooms until soft and golden. Remove from the heat.

Place the mushrooms, sepia, tomato and parsley into a large bowl. Combine well with the balsamic vinegar. Make a bed of rocket on your serving platter and spoon the sepia mix over the centre. Season and finish with a drizzle of good olive oil.


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