By Emily Duff, NYC Chef who blogs at Family2Table
Every Saturday morning, my 5 year old daughter Sylvia and I have “girl time.” We don’t play dress up, do our nails or visit a beauty salon. For us, “girl time” means getting out of the house at 8am, jumping on a crosstown bus and heading straight to the Union Square Farmers Market to visit our favorite farmers and buy what looks fresh and delicious.
I rely on Sylvia to help create our family menus as she has a keen eye for freshness, a real energy for flavor combinations and has inherited my need to chat with neighbors about food.
The farmers let her jump behind their stands and sell us our food; weighing it, bagging it and making our change. A few have even promised her a job when she is old enough which makes me very proud. For the past three weeks Sylvia has been obsessed with eating squid.
This Saturday she wanted me to create a squid salad that could also be a sandwich because, “You love salads and daddy loves sandwiches. Everyone can get what they want.” How could I resist?The following recipe for squid salad can stand alone as an appetizer or be served as a bruschetta.
I love this idea of creating dishes that possess an inherent versatility or mutability, able to please many different people all using the same basic ingredients. Not only does this premise keep food cost to a minimum but it also inspires the cook to look further, seeing the potential for future recipes based on what is already available. Plus it calls for pineapple caramelized in bacon fat, probably one of the best flavor combinations ever!
Caramelized Pineapple and Squid Salad (Or Bruschetta)
1 lb of squid, cleaned
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1/2 fresh organic pineapple, cored and diced
1/2 small organic red onion sliced thin
1 bunch arugula, washed
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tbl balsamic vinegar (sources)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (sources)
3 TBS bacon fat
4 slices whole wheat sourdough bread (sources)
Place squid in a bowl with 3 crushed and roughly chopped cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to marinate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.
In a cast iron skillet on med – low flame, add 1.5 TBS bacon fat and toast bread slices on both sides till golden.
In another pan, add 1.5 TBS of bacon fat and saute diced pineapple till caramelized. remove and hold.
Salt and pepper squid, on medium flame, saute in the same cast iron skillet in batches until done (approximately 3 – 4 minutes on each side for squid bodies and 3 minutes for tentacles).
Chop squid bodies into rings and place in bowl with pineapple. Add tentacles whole.
Add sliced onion, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, and arugula.
Add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and lemon juice.
Mix all together, salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon squid salad and vinaigrette on top of toasts and serve or serve as a salad without bread. If serving as a bruschetta, make sure you spoon enough vinaigrette to soak the toasts. Feel free to add extra olive oil over the top for presentation.
About the Author
Born and raised in NY, Emily Duff has been cooking professionally in NYC since 1988. Emily worked for farmers Wilklow, Bradley and Dent from 1989 — 1991 at the Tribeca Washington Farmers Market and Brooklyn, Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. Her cafÃ© Henrietta’s Feed & Grain (1993) was one of the first eateries to employ a completely seasonal menu based on the bounty of local growers from NY and NJ.
The Feed & Grain earned her a reputation of being a chef true to flavor and respectful of ingredients while creating and serving honest, delicious, healing food. Emily enjoyed cooking in restaurant kitchens all over NYC until she retired in 2002 to continue her work in private catering and plan a family.
In 2005, after giving birth to her daughter, Emily set forth on a dedicated path of learning in the field of Traditional Nutrition and Natural healing. The birth of her son solidified her dedication and saw a marriage of her passions: Health & Wellness, Food & Family. Family2Table is her vehicle for sharing all that she has learned in her 20 plus years of work. You can read her blog at family2table.
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