(Insalata di Calamari Gremola & Aioli)
This salad depends for its flavor and texture on fresh (not frozen) squid and dried (not canned) chickpeas. Other bitter greens, like curly endive or radicchio, may be substituted for wild chicory.
- 3⁄4 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
- Sea salt
- 1⁄2 – 1 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 Tbsp. peanut oil
- 10 cups (about 4 oz.) wild chicory , washed and dried
- 2 lb. fresh squid, cleaned, bodies cut into 1 1/2″-wide rings and tentacles left whole
- Put chickpeas, 4 cups water, and 1 pinch salt into a small pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer; poach chickpeas until tender, 30–60 minutes, depending on freshness of chickpeas. Let chickpeas cool in the cooking liquid. Drain chickpeas, reserving liquid.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Toast bread crumbs on a sheet pan in oven until golden brown, 6–8 minutes.
- Smash garlic with the side of a kitchen knife, then crush it to a coarse paste with a mortar and pestle. Add yolks, 2 tbsp. of the lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and pepper and stir with the pestle until mixture is emulsified. Add 8 tbsp. of the olive oil, bit by bit, stirring constantly with pestle until emulsified, then add 2 tbsp. of the peanut oil and repeat process. The aïoli’s consistency will be loose. Stir in 1 1⁄2 tsp. hot water to stabilize. Adjust seasonings.
- Put chicory into a large bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add one-third of the remaining olive and peanut oils, swirling them in skillet. Carefully add one-third of the squid and cook, stirring often, until just cooked through, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate. Repeat process twice with remaining oils and squid. Add chickpeas and cooking liquid to skillet and bring to a boil. Add aioli and cook, stirring until thickened, 6-8 minutes. Stir in remaining lemon juice. Remove skillet from heat, add squid, and toss to warm through. Add squid to bowl with chicory and toss until chicory wilts. Adjust seasonings. Divide salad between 6 plates and scatter bread crumbs on top.