A petit goût de Mediterrannée – Encornets grillés sur salade de mizuna et vinaigrette de pamplemousse et fenouil sauvage



When I go grocery shopping and I end up in the fish section, I cannot resist to buy seafood, especially when it’s fresh. I found those at the Berkeley bowl last week and they just made my day.

It reminds me of the open markets in France and Italy where you go early in the morning to avoid the late morning or noon heat, and you buy all fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood. Then you go home to prepare lunch with all the wonderful fresh products you bought. Sometimes, the neighbor drops by, to chit chat, or gossip about some other neighbor, have apéritif, and most of the time stays for lunch. Well, that’s how it works at my parents house. It makes me nostalgic, then I feel like going home.

I am not quite sure if this recipe is Italian with a French Flair or a French with an Italian flair, so let’s say it’s mediterranean, and that is certain, because it has many of those ingredients used in mediterranean cuisine.

I love wild fennel, my mom cooked with it very often, especially in her white meat dishes, so that might why I love it so much. Wild fennel is a kind of fennel that grows wild and that has a very long stem, sometimes can go over 5.5 feet in height. In California, it grows all over the place, and I just saw a huge stem peaking in the garden that was perfect for those calamari. Wild fennel is often used to flavor olives, fish and seafood.

When you buy calamari, they shrink a lot, so don’t be afraid to buy more than what you think you would need. For this dish which was for one person as a main course (or two as an appetizer), I used one pound. The other thing to keep in mind, is that if you have never cleaned squid or calamari, you might want to buy the ones that are already cleaned, since you have to remove the skin and eyes. Well that doesn’t sound too inviting but it’s not that complicated nor repulsive. 

Ingredients for 2

  • 1 lb squid
  • mizuna salad or frisee
  • Juice of 1/2 pink grapefruit
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • chili flakes
  • 1 tbs wild fennel, chopped
  • 1 tbs kalamata olives, cut in halves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp raspberry vinegar


Clean squid by removing skin, detaching tentacles, and emptying the inside of the squid. wash under running water and place in bowl of water.  Wash well, then pat dry and remove excess water.

Cut the grapefruit in half and collect the juice of that half. Peel the other half. Remove the skin of the half quarters and set aside. 

For the vinaigrette,  mix grapefruit juice, oil, vinegar, chili flakes, garlic, fennel, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Drizzle olive oil, 1/2 tsp of vinegar on top of squid. Add salt and pepper. Grill on a grill or under broiler for about 5 minutes, until lightly . Do not overcook or the calamari will be rubbery. They’re tender so they cook very fast.

Mix olive oil and lemon and add to the salad. Mix well. Place some salad on a serving plate, add calamari, and pour some of the vinaigrette on top of the calamari and decorate with a fennel leave.