73.73 – Cannellini Beans, Calamari & Spinach Salad

A few days ago, I tweeted that I needed a number for today’s post, Scott replied with 73.73. I met Scott through Twitter and we have actually shared beers on a few occasions. He is a great guy who is passionate about sports and writes about them, under a non-corporeal pseudonym on Padres Public. Padres Public is a mash-up of Padres bloggers who decided that it would be beneficial to put all of their writing in one location. It is not a bar, though most of us wish it was; these guys would be great at running a bar. Anyway, check out the site, especially if you’re a sports fan. Their writing is funny, insightful and fresh; they have some pretty clever ideas including a cool podcast, called Padres and Pints, where they feature a local sports-related celebrity at a San Diego-area brewery (Ben was interviewed a few months ago; here is the link…check it out!).

Here’s a song, it has nothing to do with Scott; I just like it. 

Lark – Josh Ritter

#73 – Cristina’s Tuscan Table by Cristina Ceccatelli Cook. My mom gave me this book after she took a trip to Sun Valley, Idaho. Cristina Ceccatelli Cook owns a charming restaurant there, Cristina’s Restaurant, that my mom just LOVES. The cookbook is gorgeous, intimidating and very special. My mom even had it signed for me.

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If you find yourself in Sun Valley, please visit Cristina’s Restaurant and let me know how much you liked it. I am excited for the chance to visit.

.73 – page 73 is a recipe for Cannellini Beans, Calamari & Spinach Salad. This is another new one for me. I’ve never prepared calamari. The recipe is actually a four-parter, which was very intimidating at first. Once I stepped into the kitchen to work on it, though, I became really excited and very passionate about making it. I knew from the start that it would be really beautiful; it’s just one of THOSE recipes. As I found out, there is no reason to be intimidated, more steps does not equal more difficult.

Make this recipe, I am not kidding, I followed the steps below and came out with a dish my husband called “RQ”. This is really the highest compliment Ben can give me; as a home cook, Restaurant Quality is pretty darn good. It suggests that all the elements came together correctly, from the styling to the ingredients to the preparation itself. So, make it and feed it to your loved ones. You will be glad you did.

Cannellini Beans, Calamari & Spinach Salad adapted from Cristina’s Tuscan Table. This recipe actually contains 4 total recipes in order to fully execute it, all listed below.

Cannellini Beans

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups dried cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup ev olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped roma tomatoes I used canned, they are better than out of season tomatoes
  • salt & pepper

Soak beans, overnight, in 6 cups of cold, salted water.

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Drain, rinse and place in pot with 8 cups cold, salted water. Add garlic, sage, bay leaves, ev olive oil, tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 3-4 hours until beans are soft.

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Hot Oil

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup ev olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic

In a pan, heat ev olive oil over low heat. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and let infuse over low heat for 45 minutes.

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Cool and strain before adding to vinaigrette.

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Spicy Vinaigrette

You’ll need:

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup Hot Oil (recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch of salt

Whisk ingredients together.

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Cannellini Beans, Calamari & Spinach Salad

You’ll need:

  • 6 calamari steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds), pounded
  • 1/4 cup ev olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, cut in wedges
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound baby spinach

Place steaks, ev olive oil, parsley, garlic, chives, and red pepper flakes in a dish and marinate, refrigerated, for about 30 minutes.

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Heat a cast-iron grill to very hot (next time I will use the barbecue). Grill steaks for 2 minutes, squeeze lemon wedges over the top and flip. Salt and pepper the cooked side.

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Cook for one more minute, squeeze lemon wedges and salt and pepper this side and remove from grill.

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Cut steaks into slices.

On a dish, arrange spinach

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and hot cannellini beans,

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and top with calamari.

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Drizzle with Hot Vinaigrette.

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Pair it with a great beer, like Bear Republic’s Racer 5, and enjoy!

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A “RQ” dish. It was delicious and stunning.

Shopping Notes: All fresh produce was purchased at Specialty Produce. The calamari steaks were frozen (they only take about 10 minutes to defrost) and purchased from Seaside Market in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. Bear Republic is a craft brewery in northern California; Racer 5 is one of my all-time favorite beers.

As always, be sure to #TheIncidentalSpoon if you make this recipe! Subscribe to receive emails so you don’t miss a single post!

Salute!

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