This year more than any other, I’ve been reveling in summer. Time passes so quickly, it’s easy to blink your eyes and realize you’ve let a whole season go by without stopping to enjoy it. I’ve been working hard and playing hard lately. After working through the weekend trying to meet deadlines, I decided to spend an hour this afternoon lying by the pool, just to remind myself it is summer, after all. It’s important to do that, you know. To stop, to slow things down a bit and take a look around, savoring the season. Don’t take it for granted that you’re going to get another summer. Life is so fragile.
I’ve made a little list of what summer is to me, and I would love for you to share what summer is to you in the comments section.
dining alfresco at home
trips to the farmer’s market on Saturdays
watching Le Tour de France with the husband
lying by the pool with friends, eating popsicles
the aroma of fresh basil in pesto and mint in my mojito
going to concerts at the most beautiful outdoor venue in the world
And summer is seafood. This recipe for Grilled Squid with Tomatoes and Basil is a perfect summer meal: light, fresh, colorful, and full of flavor. I’m a big fan of squid- the sweet, ocean flavor is so delicate. Squid should either be seared hot and fast or braised low and slow, as anything in between will leave it rubbery. For the recipe below, I chose to grill the squid, slicing the charred pieces into rings and tossing them with sautéed cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, and crushed red chile pepper. Serve Grilled Squid with Tomatoes and Basil as an appetizer or tapas dish with crusty bread for sopping up the juices, or toss it with pasta for a light supper.
I hope you’re having a wonderful summer filled with small adventures and simple pleasures. Don’t let the season pass you by without stopping to truly savor it.
Recipe for Grilled Squid with Tomatoes and Basil
serves 4 as an appetizer
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3/4 pound baby squid bodies, no tentacles
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- a handful of basil leaves, torn into bite size pieces
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
Prepare the cherry tomatoes by washing and then patting them dry. Slice half of the cherry tomatoes in half, leaving the others whole.
Heat a grill on high. Prepare the squid by patting them dry and then pouring over 1 teaspoon olive oil to keep them from sticking to the grill. Season the squid generously with sea salt. Place the squid on the grill and cook for just 1-2 minutes, until nicely charred, then flip to cook the other side. The squid will be firm and finished cooking in no longer than 4 minutes. Remove the squid from the grill and set aside to cool.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium. Once the oil is hot (but not smoking) add the crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute, allowing the garlic to infuse the oil with flavor. Do not allow the garlic to turn brown, adjusting the heat as necessary. Toss in all the cherry tomatoes and season with a couple pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper. Sauté the tomatoes for about 3 minutes, until the whole ones wrinkle in their skins and the halved slices begin releasing their juices. While the cherry tomatoes are cooking, slice the squid into 1/4 inch rings and then add the squid to the tomatoes, cooking just long enough to heat through, no longer than 1 minute.
Transfer the tomato and squid mixture into a bowl and pour over the sherry vinegar. Add the basil and toss the mixture well. Serve in 4 bowls with crusty bread for sopping up the juices.
The beautiful bowl I used to serve the grilled squid (as well as the tiny finger bowls) was handmade by the talented designer and ceramicist, Teresa Chang of Teresa Chang Ceramics. It is called the Wet Grass Bread Bowl.