Monday, May 7, 2012

Grilled Seafood with Arugula and Basil




It's been a perfect weekend for weather. Saturday night was clear as a bell and aloft shone a gloriously fat and round moon. Sunday was blues skies, fresh winds, and sweet air. There's nothing I like more than taking fresh May air and fouling it with barbecue smoke. Okay, 'foul' is not the term, more like 'improve'. I could have done steaks or burgers, but why do the obvious? I took a page from the Mediterranean diet and did some grilled shell fish along with a lovely salad of arugula and basil leaves. There were a few other embellishments to this flavourful plate. Here's what I did:

First I took about three whole cleaned squid (for notes on dealing with squid, go here), four jumbo scallops and a small chunk of chorizo sausage. Scallops sometimes have a wee little muscle attached to the side that has to be removed; it is tough and not pleasant to eat. It will be easy to notice as it may very well be the only feature on the scallop beside the flesh itself. Also, sometimes (but not often), scallops are sold with the 'coral' which is their roe. It is orange (or white depending on the sex of the scallop) and some people like to eat it (Jamie Oliver), others think it is bitter (Gordan Ramsay). It won't likely be an issue in scallops sold in Toronto.  Lastly, I tooks some good proper garlicky Spanish chorizo sausage and cut a few big grill-able size pieces. Then I created a marinade of crushed garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, fresh thyme, bay leaf and a good dollop of Italian jarred hot chillies in oil. I massaged this marinade into the squid and scallops and gave them a half hour in the fridge to get to know each other. Then out to the grill.

Squid needs to be cooked on the hottest of your grills. The grills need to be white and dry. The squid already has oil on it so it won't stick too much, and given just how little natural sugar there is in squid flesh, it is difficult to get a proper char, so hot, hot hot. The squid will likely stick a bit, but when it's done it will release itself from the grills. Scallops are a little more delicate and may stick, so for those, set aside a portion of the grill and oil it up a bit. Anyway, seafood takes mere minutes to cook on a barbecue. Earlier, I had got some red bell peppers on the grill to blacken up. Choriso sausage does not need a long time on the grill as you do not want it to dry out. You simply want to start the fat rendering process a bit, then set them aside.

To assemble, simply peel the black skin from peppers and cut it up into large strips. get some arugula leaves and some whole basil leaves and toss them in some olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning. Then get the greens on the plate with your roast peppers. Drop on the grilled squid and scallops along with a good hunk of sizzling choriso sausage. Scatter a few wrinkly cured black olives and grape tomatoes. Finish with a bit more olive oil, maldon salt and some fresh lemon.

It really is amazing how little cooking is required to make something that tasted so good.

1 comment:

  1. You have a great writing style and your photos are lovely. Keep up the great work!

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