Squid with seasonal California produce.
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Step 1: Clean and Chop Squid
Pull the head/tentacles away from the body. Scoop any remaining guts out of the body, and remove the thin plasticy quill. Rinse the body inside and out, then slice into approximately 3/4-1 inch thick rings.
Squeeze behind the head to extrude the beak, and remove it from the center of the tentacles. Cut just below the eyes to free the tentacles, then add them to the bowl with the body rings.
Tentacles are the best part. No, really- they're fantastic.
Step 2: Season
Add salt and pepper to the squid, and stir to coat evenly. Don't over-season here, as it's easy to add more salt and pepper later in the salad prep process.
Step 3: Pan-fry
Coat a non-stick skillet with oil, heat it until the oil starts to shimmer, and toss in your squid pieces. Only cook a handful or so at a time, as you'll need to pay them close attention.
Flip and stir the squid around with a pair of heat-proof tongs, and remove the squid IMMEDIATELY when it turns opaque. This should take just about a minute.
Yank the squid out of the pan, and let them cool on a paper towel.
The saying goes that squid should be cooked for two minutes or two hours; intermediate cooking leaves it rubbery and gross. It's easy to do a quick-cook if you pay a bit of attention and cook the squid in batches.
Step 4: Chop Fresh Stuff
Peel and chop a blood orange and an avocado1.
Coarsely chop 3-4 shallots, or finely mince a quarter of a purple onion.
Coarsely chop a large handful of cilantro.
Combine all above ingredients in a large bowl.
1(Remember all of that about local and seasonal? These Bacon avocados came from a friend's tree, and the blood oranges came from Rudino's farm. It's awesome to know where your food comes from.)
Step 5: Squid & Seasonings
Add the juice of one large lemon.
If you can get a Meyer lemon use it; they're mellow, sweet, and fragrant, and grow in many back yards near me. (My tree is still a pathetically tiny shrub.) Otherwise, just use a normal lemon.
Add the squid, and stir.
Adjust seasonings- add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as necessary. A bit of agave nectar or honey (~1 teaspoon) will take the edge off of the lemon, and blend the flavors nicely.
Toss again to distribute the juices. Letting the salad marinate in the fridge for a bit can't hurt.
Step 6: Serve
Serve chilled, in small bowls.
I like to dangle tentacles over the edge for extra style points, but your mileage may vary. Garnish with more cilantro leaves if you're so inclined.
This salad will keep overnight if refrigerated, but you probably don't want to keep it for two. It disappears quickly, so we've never had any problems with this.