I ate my first remarkable seafood and rice salad in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital on the Baltic Sea. I don’t remember all the ingredients, but I am sure about calamari, rice, and pickled cucumbers. The taste and texture of every bite were perfect — sweet soft rice, sea-salty chewy calamari, and briny-pungent crispy pickles were rounded with a little bit of gentle mayo-like dressing. Simple and elegant.
While browsing Russian-speaking segment for the origins of my Tallinn salad, I found many recipes of more popular version of rice and calamari salad with boiled eggs, fresh cucumbers, and mayo dressing. I didn’t find any proven information on how this salad became part of traditional Soviet cuisine.
Google in English, and voalá — Italy! Articles after articles and endless variations of recipes for insalata di riso with fresh and pickled vegetables and frutti di mare rise salads. Please follow the links! I shared two of my favorite.
Served at room temperature, rice salads are perfect for summer. They can be composed with local ingredients. They can be vegan, vegetarian, or include light proteins. Calamari or cuttlefish are ideal for that kind of salads. Pickled ramps used in the recipe are part of my Wild, Wild, Wild Ramps!, but can be substituted with your favorite pickles and olives. The vegetables, pickles, and dressing you use will make your salad unique. I prefer Japanese mayonnaise Kewpie, but if you experiment with other dressings, you might find your own best.