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Summer Salad Series: Squid and rice salad/opus octopus

Squid and rice salad/opus octopus (Photos by: Jean-Mark Sens)

Squid, Brown & Wild Rice Salad/ Opus Octopus

Servings: 6 generous portions

Besides squids or cooked baby octopus, this recipe can be adapted to any type of firm, white flesh fish (cod, halibut, drum, etc). If you use fish, make sure you only lightly poach it so it remains firm.

I use frozen squid steaks, but you can also use regular squids and baby octopus (washed and trim).

The recipe follows the principles of blanching and then making a ceviche. If you use baby octopus—fresh or frozen--it will take longer to cook them, so you will want to simmer them for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on size.

This salad should rest and absorb flavors for one hour before serving. It can also be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated.

Ingredients:

1 pound squid steaks—choose small, thin ones if possible.

3 cloves

3 bay leaves

water

(Blanche steaks for a minute in flavored water with cloves and bay leaves, bringing enough water for total immersion to a boil. Drain and put in ice-cold water).

Crushed/ minced garlic: 1 tablespoon—sauté in pan, on medium heat, till golden yellow, and let cool.

Fresh lime juice: approximately 1/3 cup

Sherri vinegar: 3 tablespoons

Hot sauce: 1 or 2 tablespoons—to taste

Small, seeded Serrano pepper: ½ teaspoon--to taste

Ground pepper to taste

Ground coriander: 1 teaspoon—to taste

Dry herb mix: Dominica’s Kalbash, or Italian, Provencal ground to powder in a blender: about 1/2 teaspoon, to taste.

Virgin olive oil: ½ cup

(Mix all together for dressing. Cut squid steaks in stripes—small julienne and mix in dressing. Chill for one hour).

Assorted bell peppers (red, yellow, green, poblano): 1/2 cup each small brunoise

Red onion: ½ cup brunoise

Garlic—minced, or crushed: ½ teaspoon

Capers, rinsed in cold water to drain salt: 2 tablespoons

(In hot pan with some olive oil lightly sauté onion, garlic and bell peppers—softened but still a bit crunchy. Add capers and let cool).

Brown rice: (1 cup) and wild rice: (1/3 cup) mix, cooked in vegetable broth and allowed to cool.

Mix everything together in a large bowl and let set for some 20 minutes or longer if possible. Even better if set over night and served the next day.

Same recipe can also include black beans, and to give it a bit more spice, add fresh cilantro for an even more refreshing summer dish.

Jean-Mark Sens grew up in France and Belgium and has been living in the Southern United States of America for the past 25 years, except for a short stint in the deep East of Maine, which brought him back to New Orleans. He has taught culinary arts at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Eastern Maine Community College and more recently for Mississippi University for Women on the Gulf Coast, and also works with the Goldring Centre for Culinary Medicine in New Orleans. He has published a collection of poetry, Appetite, with Red Hen Press. The present recipes are part of Leafy Greens and Sundry Things, a book on the arts and technique of composing salads in need of a publisher.