MARINATED SQUID and FENNEL
Serves 8 as a first course
1½ pounds squid, cleaned (procedure follows), the body sacs cut into 1/3-inch-rings, the flaps sliced thin, and the tentacles halved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh orégano leaves or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs (sometimes called anise), trimmed, quartered, and sliced thin, or 6 ribs of celery, sliced thin on the diagonal
pita loaves, cut into wedges, as an accompaniment
In a large saucepan of boiling water cook the squid with the lemon juice for 45 seconds ( the water probably will not return to a boil in this time), drain it in a colander, and refresh it under cold water. In a large bowl whisk together the vinegar, the orégano, the fennel seeds, the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. Add the squid and the fennel or celery, combine the mixture well, and let it marinate, covered and chilled, for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to develop. The marinated squid may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Serve the marinated squid with the pita wedges.
TO CLEAN SQUID
Pull the head and body of the squid apart, cut off the tentacles just below the eyes, and reserve the tentacles and body sac. Discard the transparent quill from inside the body sac, rinse the body sac well, and peel off the purple membrane covering it. Pull off the flaps gently from the body sac to avoid tearing the sac and reserve them.