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Chickpea, Calamari & Zucchini Salad

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Serves eight to ten as part of a buffet.

  • 1 lb. cleaned calamari (squid) tentacles and bodies
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red chile flakes
  • 3/4 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lb. small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into 3/8-inch half moons (about 2 cups)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup); more as needed
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas (or two 19-oz. cans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons and soaked in ice water for 1 hour
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Clean the squid as described here. Slice the bodies lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Put the strips and the cleaned tentacles into separate bowls and season each evenly with salt, pepper, chile flakes, and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Set aside.

Smash the garlic and a pinch of salt into a paste following the directions in the sidebar at right. Whisk the garlic with 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a small bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.

Bring 1 quart of salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the zucchini and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the zucchini to a plate to cool. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

In the same pot of boiling water, cook the squid strips until they become just firm to the tooth, about 1 minute. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large plate to cool. Cook the tentacles the same way but for about 90 seconds; drain and add to the strips. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle on one-quarter of the lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

In a large, shallow bowl, combine the chickpeas, zucchini, and calamari. Drain the soaking onions, dry briefly on paper towels, and add to the chickpeas. Add the garlic oil, the remaining lemon juice, the parsley, and the basil and toss. Taste for salt and pepper.

Let the salad marinate for 1 hour at room temperature before serving. You can also refrigerate the salad for up to a day ahead, but make sure it comes to room temperature before serving and taste for salt, pepper, lemon, and chile flakes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on ten servings; Calories (kcal): 460; Fat (g): 21; Fat Calories (kcal): 190; Saturated Fat (g): 3; Protein (g): 22; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): 49; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): 270; Cholesterol (mg): 105; Fiber (g): 13;

Photo: France Ruffenach

This was absolutely delicious, very refreshing. We served it as a tapa for a Paella party we had. You do have to taste and add a bit more red pepper flakes, salt/pepper at the end. Serve it right away, or if you make it ahead, serve at room temp.

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