Don't fear the squid. This bright, impressive dish is easier than you think.
Chilled Poached Monterey Bay Squid with Sugar Snap Peas
Credit: Abby Hocking

When it comes to spring, chef Katy Millard doesn’t mess around. The menu at Coquine, her Portland, Oregon restaurant, evolves as the seasons change and nightly offerings are inspired by what’s available in the market. Yesterday, Millard came to the Food & Wine test kitchen to cook the ultimate warm-weather indulgence: Chilled Poached Monterey Bay Squid with Sugar Snap Peas. Bright green and filled with vegetables and herbs, Millard calls this seafood dish “springtime in a bowl.”

During the Facebook Live, Millard shared her tips for ensuring that the squid is poached to perfection, starting with how to prep. “To put it delicately,” Maillard says, “you rip the heads off of the bodies.” Sorry, squid. Next, remove the insides (sorry, again) and slice each one into rings.

When shopping for squid, Millard recommends buying from Monterey Bay, because the seafood program promotes sustainable practices.

Since the squid only takes about 10 seconds to poach, the court bouillon (the poaching liquid) needs to be heavily seasoned. Otherwise, Millard says that the flavors won’t affect the squid at all.

After cooking the court bouillon and quickly poaching the squid in the boiling liquid, the key is to stick the squid in the freezer and leave it there. “The reason why you could and should do this ahead of time,” Millard says, “is that all of this needs to be really cold.”

Since almost all of the components in this recipe can be made in advance, this dish is great for dinner parties. But remember not to drizzle the lemon juice into the vinaigrette until the dish is ready to serve, because the acid will turn that beautiful green color into a murky brown. Millard might have learned about this ingredient transformation the hard way, but luckily we have her past experience to serve as a cautionary tale.

For more spring dinner party inspiration, check out these recipes.