Sunday, March 16, 2014

Calamari Noodle Salad

Jeff made this Mediterranean-influenced salad last night. It has a light, springtime feel to it, something I'm needing right about now. The buttery flavor of the fingerling potatoes adds a richness and offsets the spicy arugula. For such a simple, quick meal it looks impressive enough for guests ~ thanks, Anne Burrell! You did it again ;-). Serves 3 for a main course, 4 as a starter.

1 lb calamari, thoroughly cleaned: tubes cut into 1/4" strips, tentacles cut into bite size segments
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/8 tsp
4 larger or 5 smaller fingerling potatoes, washed, unpeeled & cut crosswise into 1/4" rounds
Kosher salt
1 c dry white wine (un-oaked, aged in aluminum barrels)
1/4 cup kalamata or gaeta olives, pitted and sliced
*Possibly a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
4 c baby arugula, washed & spun dry
2 TB chopped fresh chives

Coat a 10" saute pan with EVOO, about 3 TB. Add the smashed garlic and red pepper and cook over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown but not burned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove the garlic and discard.

Add the potatoes to the oil and brown on each side, about 8-10 minutes total. Remove the potatoes and drain on paper towels.  Turn heat to medium-high. Add the calamari to the oil, season lightly with salt & cook for 1 minute until it turns opaque. As soon as that happens, add the wine and olives and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 4 minutes. The calamari will have cooked for a total of maybe 5 minutes. You want to make sure that it's just this side of done; overcooking will turn it to rubber band consistency. Remove pan from heat immediately.

Taste the pan juices for salt and acid, but don't burn your tongue! You might need to add just a squeeze of lemon, as we did.

Use a spoon to drizzle just enough of the pan juices over the arugula to dress the salad. Add the potatoes and calamari. If you toss with your fingers instead of tongs, you'll be able to coat all the lettuce leaves & potatoes and use less dressing.