Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sunset Salad...

I can cook, but my cooking often has an unusual quality - adult meals as they might be imagined and assembled by a child. In other words, crazy concoctions for "sophisticated palates" as envisioned by the Cap'n Crunch set.

Sunset Salad is as good an example of this as any in my repertoire. Although it is not my own recipe, it smacks of the Gazpachot touch. I had this recently at Sunset Beach, a hipster hotel in Shelter Island, NY, and I was blown away by its over the top deliciousness. I made this for Sarah one night last week. I think she really liked it. And here's how to make it...

(serves 2)

Two heads of Frisee lettuce
One large serving of fried calamari
1 1/2 cups of top notch carrot/ginger dressing.
Salt & Pepper

Chop off the butt end and the dark green leafy tops of the frisee lettuce heads. Basically you want the small inner leaves, the yellow spiky ones. Wash and dry. You can toss in a couple of dark leafy bits, but not too many. Put the usable leaves in a nice big bowl. Stick in the refrigerator.

Order and pick up the best flash fried calamari from a high end Italian restaurant. You want breading, but not the heavy fried chicken style breading some joints go for. Light, crispy, rubbery. Yum. Keep them hot.

You can make your own carrot ginger dressing, but why bother? It's more fun to drive around from sushi restaurant to sushi restaurant begging them for 2 cups of this liquid gold. You'll be turned down a bunch of times by knife wielding sushi chefs. Don't get flustered. You can do it. And don't get two parking tickets like I did either. Also, some places will call their dressing "carrot ginger," but it will be brown and watery, and that's no good. You want something that's a thick, oily, orangy-yellow with fine bits of carrot throughout.

OK, so sit down your dinner partner. You can serve a small appetizer before. I think a few thin slices of Bresaola (cured filet mignon) with some strong goat cheese will do the trick. Squeeze lemon and drizzle olive oil on the Bresaola before you put a small bit of cheese on it. Roll up and insert into your mouth...

Pour the hot calamari over the cold frisee lettuce. Squeeze lemon all over the bowl. Then pour all of the carrot-ginger dressing over the hot squid and the cold lettuce. Let it sit for a minute while the calamari sucks up all that sweet dressing.
Present the bowl. Toss. Serve. Eat.

Best served with a crazy good French Rose. I like Chateau Pradeaux from Bandol.

Sunset Salad is pretty filling stuff, but if there's any room left in your gullet, try to find some really good quality tiramisu for dessert.


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