April 05, 2006

Bread & Squid Salad

On Sunday as I was getting ready to meet up with my friend for brunch at Inoteca, I had the Food Network on in the background (generally what my TV is always turned on to!). Boy Meets Grill with Bobby Flay was the show, and I caught him making a salad with grilled tomatoes, bread, and squid mixed with a mint leaf dressing. I did not catch the details, but I knew it was definitely something I wanted to try.

Growing up, my mother (aka, “Momma”) used to make such a great bread salad that was similar to this. Her’s was using bread that was lightly toasted mixed with diced tomatoes, basil, kalamata olives, and balsamic vinaigrette. I loved the simplicity of this salad yet how flavorful it was. The bread pieces would soak all that vinaigrette goodness yet remain slightly crunchy. This mixture of textures was such a refreshing delight, especially on warm days.

Walking home from brunch on such a beautiful Spring day in New York, I knew I had to make this salad as an ode to the start of warmer weather! So I picked up the ingredients that would allow me to make a combination of Bobby Flay’s and Momma’s salads. The result—perfectly yummy!

Here is how I made it for about 2 small servings (measurements can be very flexible):

Salad
  • 8 slices of baguette bread, about 1 centimeter thick
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 squids
  • ½ large tomato, diced
  • ½ cup of chopped basil
Dressing
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  1. Brush slices of bread with olive oil on both sides, and then place in slices grill pan over medium-high heat. Let grill until lightly toasted with grill marks. If you do not have a grill pan, toasting bread in a toaster or oven will work as well.
  2. As bread is toasting, start making dressing (be sure to keep an eye on the bread, though, to make sure it does not burn!). Mix all dressing ingredients together well. (See Note 1)
  3. When bread is properly grilled (or toasted), start grilling the squid. You only need to cook the squid until it becomes opaque, about a few minutes on each side.
  4. As squid is cooking, cut the bread slices into bite-size pieces.
  5. Once the squid is cooked through, cut the squid width-wise into bite-size pieces.
  6. Toss squid, bread, and the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This is a great salad—Enjoy!

Notes:
  1. In order to best emulsify the oil and vinegar, first add the vinegar to your bowl. With one hand rapidly whisk the vinegar. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil with the other hand.

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