"I try to use seafood that's from the bottom of the food chain, like squid, prawns and clams. It's cheaper and tastier," says Gjelina chef Travis Lett. "That's why we'll always have grilled squid on the menu."
At Custom House in Chicago, the salty and piquant anchovy- and-Parmesan dressing for this salad gets pounded by hand in a mortar with a pestle, then tossed with lettuce and home-roasted pimiento peppers. An easier way is to let a blender do the work of the mortar and pestle. Combine the crunchy greens with store-bought roasted peppers, instead of home-roasted ones.
"I've never met a wine I didn't like," says Lou Amdur of Lou in L.A. One of the wackiest he's ever tasted is the amphorae-aged Vinoterra Kisi, made from the indigenous Georgian white grape Kisi. It's unexpectedly delicious with smoked fish.
To make the dressing for this pretty salad, Daniel Humm takes the zesty poaching liquid for shrimp—flavored with coriander seeds, garlic, peppercorns and orange zest—and reduces it. The salad is wonderful as both a first course or a light main course.
Bulgur (a quick-cooking form of whole wheat) is usually boiled before it's eaten, but for this terrific main-course salad, Melissa Rubel Jacobson simply softens it in warm tap water before tossing it with baby spinach and precooked shrimp.
"Whenever you go to Spain, you always have beans," says Gerald Hirigoyen. "And squid is everywhere in Basque country, where I grew up, and in California too." Hirigoyen combines earthy black-eyed peas (which are a kind of bean) and quickly boiled squid with red wine vinegar and fresh herbs to create a bright-flavored, satisfying first-course salad.