Spring is most definitely in the air and that means the year’s first bike rides, outside hangs, and potlucks are sneaking up on us. For us, no person spells warm weather like one of our favorite food buddies, Cathy Erway, author of The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove. Cathy turns to her garden for fresh flavors and full-bodied taste, and to jump-start our tastes buds, she cooked up Asparagus & Squid with Ponzu-Chili-Lime Vinaigrette, a dish that includes Japanese (ponzu) and Vietnamese (chili sauce) flourishes in the dressing. Erway believes that “The asparagus, dressed in a lime-y and slightly spicy vinaigrette, is really refreshing before the main course, and the delicate texture of the squid is a fun contrast.”
(makes 4-6 salad-sized servings)1 lb cleaned squid
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro leaves (stems trimmed)
1 tablespoon Japanese Ponzu (a citrus-seasoned soy sauce)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2-3 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sambal olek, or chili-garlic sauce
Heat a pot of water and prepare an ice bath. Cut trimmed asparagus into 1-2″ logs. Blanch for 1 minute and transfer immediately to ice bath to cool and preserve color. Once cold, drain.Cut the tentacles from the cleaned squid and remove bodies of any remaining guts that may be still lingering inside. Cut about half of the squid bodies into 1/4″ rings (like fried calamari), and slit the remaining half of the squid bodies lengthwise. Cut those squid bodies lengthwise into 1/4″ strips (or “noodles,” as my co-chef called them). This will provide for a variety of shapes once they sizzle in a pan.
Mix the raw squid with the salt, pepper and cumin in a small bowl. Heat the vegetable or canola oil in a fry pan and once it’s very hot, add the squid. Stir-fry until just opaque rather than milky-clear, about 1 minute or under. Transfer to a clean bowl. In another small bowl, combine the ponzu, lime juice and chili-garlic salt and adjust any ingredients to taste. Toss both the drained asparagus and squid in the dressing and toss in the cilantro leaves and enoki mushrooms towards the end. Serve immediately at room temperature or chill combined first if desired.