Roasted cipollinis, fresh vegetables, and smoky seafood make for a refreshing, unforgettable salad.
By Tania Cusack
Cipollinis are a small flat onion with annoying papery skin that is sometimes hard to peel. Do not let this put you off because they are sweet and are perfect for roasting, or pickling or even in salads. They are bulbing onions that are harvested about 100 days after planting and are a yellow to brown onion but also come in a red variety too. If you are familiar with Italian food you will probably have eaten them in Italy fresh or roasted or out of a jar. They are a major crop in the North of Italy and have been growing there for hundreds of years. Well, guess what Italians, they are now growing in Australia.
For this dish, be sure to buy the very best, freshest squid. If you can’t find squid use prawns or scallops.
- 1 x squid ( approx1 kg- 2.2lb) cleaned and sliced
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 6 baby cucumbers ½'d ( or 1 small lebanese Cucmber)
- ½ cup black olives
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes - I used sweet orange ones
- ¼ cup sliced parsley
- 500gm cipolinni onions ( or quartered spanish onions)
- 4 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar (quality)
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 4 sprigs picked chopped thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon quality balsamic ( sweet)
- 1 heaped teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 clove of garlic ½'d
- Salt and pepper
- Clean and finely slice the Squid ( you can score it if you like) and put it in a bowl with lemon zest, olive oil and chopped thyme. Put into the refrigerator till needed
- Set the oven 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the balsamic, honey oil and thyme into a bowl. Peel the onions by first dropping into boiling water for 1 minute and draining, to remove the fine skin, peel. Toss the onions in the Balsamic mix, then onto the baking tray. Cover with foil and roast for about 25 minutes before discarding the foil and roasting a further 20 minutes or till caramelized and soft. Set aside . You can make these the day before if you like.
- Put the olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic ( honey if using) , whole thyme and garlic and salt and pepper into a jar and shake till imulsified.
- Heat the BBQ or grill plate whiile you put the salad together.
- Put the cucumbers, olives, parsley, tomatoes and onions into a bowl. Then toss the squid onto the grill adding the thick tenticles first. Let them scortch and turn opaic for a 2 minutes before adding the remainder of the squid and cook till chared and opaque, approximately 3 minutes. let the squid rest for a coupkle of minutes or it will be tough.
- Add the squid to the salad and toss with ½ the dressing. Taste and add more if you like.
After completing Culinary School in Sydney, Tania travelled the world working as a Chef in restaurants, doing catering and cooking on road for a travel company in Europe and the US. Once back at home, the birth of her son meant a change, and during his small years, she enjoyed jobs in wholesale food, buying Artisan food products, testing and recipe writing as sales and educational tools. Tania is now back to what she loves, working as an in house Chef for a large retailer, conducting Cooking Classes and writing recipes for her blog.