Yesterday I cooked the first meal of the new year that was more involved than defrosting leftovers or cutting up fresh fruit.  I cut vegetables this time and grilled some seafood for about 3 minutes.  Baby steps, baby steps.  I’ll be back on the cake baking wagon soon enough – 2 birthdays this month, one of which requires a very tiny cake.

This salad comes from my new passion, which I have mentioned before.  It has a winning combination of zingy onions, crisp fennel, fresh herbs, citrusy lime juice, spicy chili, chargrilled seafood, and sweet pomegranate seeds.  With that combination, your tastebuds will be so intrigued, you’ll be in love too.  The original recipe called for squid, but they only had octopus at the market yesterday, so I just went with it.  A $2 mandolin slicer from the Japanese restaurant supply made the cutting in this recipe super easy.

Grilled Seafood Salad (adapted from Ottolenghi)

  • one 8-legged Octopus, or a couple squid, cleaned and cut into bitesized pieces
  • 12 prawns, deheaded, peeled and sliced in half
  • olive oil
  • 2 small bulbs fennel, sliced very thin, tops reserved
  • 1/2 onion, sliced very thin
  • juice and grated zest of one lime
  • 1 mild red chili, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced fine
  • chopped fennel tops, mint, parsley, and cilantro
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
  1. Heat a grill pan to very hot on the stove.  Toss seafood with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill in small batches for 1-3 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked but not rubbery.  The octo and squid cook super fast, it will curl and become opaque.  Err on the side of under-done, you can always cut it to check and throw it back on.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients (except pom seeds) in a bowl and toss.  Add seafood.
  3. Plate and top with pomegranate seeds.  Makes 4 dinner portions or 8 starters.