My mom usually served her seafood salads with a side of boiled potatoes: the brininess of the lemony dressing from the seafood gave the potatoes a delicious flavor. So when I make a seafood salad, I usually boil a few potatoes to drag through the lemony dressing. The salad I made last week is much simpler than my mother’s (no mussels, shrimp, or octopus), and comes together in minutes.
If you can find small squid, it will be much more tender than larger squid. Most seafood salads call for cooking the seafood in white wine; my trick is to boil the squid in the water from the potatoes after I pull out the potatoes. It not only saves a pot, it gives the squid a sweeter flavor and helps it emerge extra-moist. Remember that with squid, you can either flash-cook it until it just curls and turns opaque, or you can slow-cook it for about 45 minutes until it becomes super-soft. Anything in between yields tough, rubbery squid. This recipe is of the flash-cook variety.
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer
- 1/2 pound young boiling potatoes, scrubbed (a variety of colors is fine)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 pound baby squid, tubes cut into thin rings
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
Place the potatoes in a 3-quart pot. Cover with cool water and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes for small potatoes and 40 minutes for larger potatoes. Remove from the pot and reserve the boiling water. Slice the potatoes in half and place on a platter, cut side facing up.
Return the potato boiling water to a boil. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove from the pot and reserve the boiling water. Shock the beans under cool water and drain; blot dry and place next to the potatoes on the platter.
Return the potato boiling water to a boil. Add the squid and cook 1 minute, or until the tentacles curl and the squid rings turn opaque. Drain and place on the platter next to the potatoes and green beans.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, chili flakes, garlic, and parsley. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pour over the potatoes, green beans, and squid. Toss gently and serve warm, cutting the potatoes and beans on your plate into bite-size pieces as you eat.