Steal This Recipe® Crispy Calamari Cobb Salad | Brooks Restaurant

August 25, 2011

Jazz up an old lunch favorite with this unique recipe from Chef Andy Brooks, of Brooks, Ventura, California

‘Stolen with permission’ from Chef Andy Brooks, of Brooks, Ventura, California, the Crispy Calamari Cobb Salad jazzes up an old lunch favorite, subbing crispy calamari for the traditional chicken or turkey, and adding pieces of butternut squash and a creamy, zesty, unique pesto vinaigrette.

Brooks restaurant is the first venture of a husband and wife team who are passionate about food. Jayme oversees the business management of the restaurant as well as welcoming guests, while Andy focuses on his kitchen and finding local and seasonal ingredients for his bold and creative menu (including a nightly five course tasting menu); fulfilling his lifelong dream - that together they have made a reality.

Brooks is located in the historic downtown district of Ventura, just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean. 90 miles North of Los Angeles, Ventura is packed with Californian history including the San Buena Ventura Mission - one of the original Californian missions, the Ortega Adobe Building built in 1857 and the original courthouse dating from 1913, which is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places. With restaurants galore, art galleries and day spas, Ventura is a great pace to relax and unwind – and sample one of the five course tasting menus at Brooks!

About the chef: after graduating from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute Andy Brooks worked at an impressive list of well known West Coast restaurants. He then travelled to Chicago and Washington DC to work with respected chefs, gathering experience, before moving back to the West Coast with Jayme in 2006 to open Brooks.

545 East Thompson Boulevard 
Ventura, California 93001 
805 652 7070

Brooks Crispy Calamari Cobb Salad is served at the restaurant for $14.00. 
This recipe makes 4 restaurant servings.

Crispy Calamari Ingredients: 
1 lb calamari: tubes and tentacles, cleaned, cut into rings 
2 cups all purpose flour 
2 cups fine grained yellow cornmeal 
½ cup Cajun spice mix (available in most grocery stores) 
½ gallon soy oil or peanut oil for frying

Crispy Calamari Cobb Salad Ingredients: 
4 hearts of Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped 
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and large diced 
3 ripened Haas avocados, large diced 
1 cup or (1 small) Butternut Squash, diced and blanched 
½ cup pancetta, diced and precooked, crispy 
1 cup pesto vinaigrette 
1 lb. crispy calamari

Pesto Vinaigrette Ingredients and Instructions: 
¼ cup toasted pine nuts 
1 cup extra virgin olive oil 
5 cloves garlic minced 
½ cup basil leaves, chopped 
½ teaspoon black pepper 
¼ teaspoon salt 
¼ cup apple cider vinegar 
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine 
Place all ingredients in blender, process until smooth.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Crispy Calamari: 
In a large heavy bottomed stock pot, heat oil to 350 degrees. 
Combine flour, cornmeal and Cajun spice in mixing bowl. 
Take cleaned calamari and toss in flour mixture until nicely coated, shake off excess flour with strainer and place in hot oil. 
Fry until golden brown (approximately 1 to 1 ½ minutes). 
Remove from fryer, drain calamari on paper towels. 
Season with salt and pepper.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions To Plate: 
In a large bowl mix together chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced avocados, crispy pancetta, and butternut squash. 
Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to coat the lettuce or more as desired. 
Divide salad mixture among 4 large bowls. Top each salad with crispy calamari.