Winter Squid

Photo: Kang Kim

A few things you may not have known about the squid: Along with its cephalopod cousins the octopus and the cuttlefish, it is the brainiac of the mollusk family. Squids like to swim by the light of the moon, preferably backward, and they’re at their sweetest, tenderest best right now, according to Esca’s fisherman-chef Dave Pasternack, whose recipe follows.

Dave Pasternack’s Grilled Calamari Salad

1 cup flat-leaf parsley, washed and dried
1 lemon
1/4 tsp. crushed red-pepper flakes
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 lb. fresh squid (tubes and heads), cleaned (remove beaks, eyes, innards, and ink sacs, or have your fishmonger do it for you)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 radishes, washed
Salt and pepper to taste
Chile oil, optional

Chop 2 tablespoons of parsley. Zest and finely chop half a lemon. Place in mixing bowl with crushed pepper and rosemary. (1) Add squid, and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Marinate overnight or at least 1 hour. Thinly slice radishes with mandolin. Place them in a large bowl, and toss with remaining parsley leaves, juice from lemon, salt and pepper, and a splash of olive oil. Set aside. (2) Over high heat, grill calamari on a cast-iron grill pan. Press down on the squid with a weight to mark; after approximately 3 minutes, flip and finish cooking for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from pan; toss squid in bowl with radishes and parsley to catch the cooking juices. (3) Remove squid from bowl, slice into rings, return to bowl. Divide into 4 portions, serve on plates garnished with a drizzle of chile oil or extra-virgin olive oil. Serves 4.

Esca Chef Dave Pasternack Prepares His Calamari Salad

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Winter Squid