Grilled Squid with Fennel, Blistered Shishito Escabeche, Chorizo Vinaigrette & Marjoram

I love the idea of eating a meal that’s both warm and cold on a hot summer day. Warm grilled squid with crisp, cold shaved fennel and blistered shishito peppers that have been swimming in sherry vinaigrette for a couple days is always a good idea. Chorizo vinaigrette ties everything together. Marjoram, one of the most underused herbs, tastes similar to oregano, but offers a bit of sweetness.


Day 1: Prepare the Blistered Shishito Escabeche & Chorizo Vinaigrette

Blistered Shishito Escabeche

Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes | Cook Time: 20 to 30 minutes | Marinate Time: Overnight, or up to 2 days

Escabeche is a way of preserving food. Typically, you grill or fry the vegetable of your choice, then marinate it in vinaigrette. What I’ve done is grill or roast peppers over the coals of my grill and soaked them in a sherry vinaigrette perfumed with marjoram and thyme. You can try escabeche on all kinds of vegetables during harvest season.

Ingredients

  • 1 pint shishito pepper
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 marjoram sprigs
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar

Step by Step

  1. Turn on your grill to or get your coals hot. Bring your grill to 400F to 500F degrees
    • If you’re using coals, you can roast the peppers directly on the coals once they coals are hot
    • For a gas grill, all you need to do is place them on the grill grate
    • Alternatively, you can roast the peppers on a gas stove burner
  2. Once the grill or coals are hot, place the peppers on the heat source of your choice and char on each side for about 10 minutes
  3. Place the shishitos into a glass container, preferably a mason jar
  4. Submerge the peppers in the warm vinegar solution
  5. Let the peppers marinate overnight, or up to 2 days
  6. Reserve in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 7 to 10 days

Chorizo Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes

There are two main kinds of chorizo, Mexican and Spanish. Mexican chorizo is a raw sausage flavored with cumin, garlic and chili, whereas the Spanish chorizo is dried like a salami and flavored with smoked paprika and garlic. We’re going to use the dried chorizo because when it cooks in the olive oil, it crisps and will add texture to the dish.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. Spanish-style Chorizo, thinly sliced into 1/8” slices
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Salt

Step by Step

  1. Place a medium sauce pot on medium-low heat
  2. Add the chorizo and olive oil. You want to render out all the smoky, porky fat from the chorizo low and slow.
  3. Cook the chorizo over medium low heat until the fat is rendered and the chorizo begins to crisp a little, about 10 minutes
  4. When the chorizo is somewhat crispy, turn off the heat
  5. Add the sherry vinegar and the minced shallot. You now have a chorizo vinaigrette.
  6. Adjust the seasoning with salt
  7. Let the chorizo vinaigrette rest at room temperature for 10 minutes
  8. Reserve in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week

Day 2: Shave the Fennel, Prep the Marjoram, Grill the Calamari & Serve

Today’s the day. You just need a few final touches to assemble the dish so your friends and family can enjoy.

Shaved Fennel

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes | Marinate Time: 15 to 20 minutes | Special Equipment: Mandoline or very sharp knife

This shaved fennel salad is all about freshness, simplicity and respecting the ingredient. Less is more here. This recipe is so simple, you may actually ask yourself if you’re missing something, but you’re not. It’s about fennel and not overpowering the squid.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1 tablespoon fennel fronds, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (using the same lemons)
  • 3/4 cup high-quality olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d’espelette pepper

Farm2ChefsTable Tip: Piment d’espelette is a must-have in your pantry. This smoky, mild pepper is very similar to paprika and comes from the Basque region of France.

Step by Step

  1. Thinly slice the fennel bulb in a large bowl using a mandolin or very sharp knife
  2. Add the remaining ingredients
  3. Let the fennel marinate for 15 to 20 minutes and set aside

Prepare the Marjoram

Prep Time: 5 to 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 1 cup arugula from a local farm

Step by Step

  1. Pick the fresh green marjoram leaves from the stem
  2. Set aside in a small container

Grilled Calamari

Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes

There’s an old adage that you either cook calamari for one minute or one hour — anything in between, and you’ll have rubber bands. Nobody likes to eat rubber bands, so in this case, we’ll rely on a really high heat grill to get the job done.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. calamari, whole tubes
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste

Step by Step

  1. Place the calamari tubes on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel
  2. Place the tubes at a 45 degree angle with the opening facing you and the tip facing away
  3. With a sharp knife, open the calamari by inserting a knife down one side from opening to tip. It will open like a book.
  4. Toss the calamari with extra virgin olive oil
  5. Let the calamari come to room temperature while you get the grill hot. You’re looking for 500F degrees. To gauge the temperature of the grill, place your hand 10 inches above the coals. If the heat from the coals becomes unbearable after 2 seconds, the grill is 500F degrees
  6. Place each piece of calamari flat on the grill
  7. Grill for 1 minute, and not a minute longer because it will continue to cook even after it’s removed the grill
  8. Place the calamari in a medium bowl
  9. Zest the lemon over top of the calamari
  10. Squeeze lemon juice on the calamari
  11. Add a generous glug of extra virgin oil to the calamari
  12. Sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top and give the calamari a toss to combine ingredients
  13. Serve immediately

Assemble the Dish

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Step by Step

  1. Warm the chorizo over medium-low heat in a small sauce pot
  2. In a large bowl, toss the grilled calamari with the blistered shishito escabeche
  3. Spread the calamari and escabeche evenly on a large plate
  4. Rustically lay the shaved fennel salad all over the plate, ensuring that you get a good mix of calamari, fennel, arugula and roasted pepper in each bite
  5. Lightly dress the entire dish by spooning the chorizo vinaigrette all over the grilled calamari
  6. Sprinkle marjoram all over the dish
  7. Enjoy with your friends and family.