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Grilled Calamari on a Bed of White Beans

Grilled Calamari on a Bed of White Beans
This grilled calamari is topped with salsa verde, a fresh green sauce that is delicious on nearly any grilled seafood.

Ingredients:

For the white beans:

  • 1 cup dried cannellini or Great Northern beans,
      rinsed and picked over
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small dried red chili
  • 1/4 small yellow onion
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

For the vinaigrette:

  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

For the salsa verde:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice country-style bread, soaked in water and
      squeezed dry
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. capers, drained and finely chopped
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 to 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb. squid, cleaned
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for coating
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 8 handfuls baby arugula leaves

Directions:

To make the beans, in a saucepan, combine the beans and cold water to cover by 2 inches. Soak the beans overnight, then drain and add fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Alternatively, bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and add fresh water to cover.

Add the bay leaf, chili, onion and thyme sprig to the beans, set over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat at once to a very low simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Season with sea salt and white pepper. Set the beans in their broth aside.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill, or preheat a broiler. Soak 8 long wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes, then drain.

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar, then whisk in salt and white pepper. Set aside.

To make the salsa verde, in a bowl, using a wooden spoon, mash together the olive oil and bread to form a paste. Stir in the parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic and vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Thread the squid bodies and tentacles onto the skewers. Coat with olive oil and season both sides with salt and white pepper.

Oil the grill rack with a paper towel soaked with oil. Place the skewers on the grill rack or broil 2 to 3 inches from the heat source, turning once, until the squid is lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Drain the beans of almost all their broth and discard the bay leaf, chili, onion and thyme sprig. Reheat over low heat if necessary.

Toss the beans with half of the vinaigrette. Toss the arugula with the remaining vinaigrette. To serve, pile one-fourth of the arugula on each plate and top with one-fourth of the beans and 2 skewers of calamari. Spoon a little of the salsa verde over each skewer and pass the remaining sauce at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Seafood, by Carolyn Miller (Simon & Schuster, 2005).