Nesting with Calamari + Pomelo Salad

posted on: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Calamari & Pomelo Salad | via Chandara Creative

I don't think I've blogged this frequently in quite some time, and I have to tell you: I miss it! I scheduled this post as I was nesting and counting down the days till our nugget's arrival, knowing full well that when that moment came, I'd have no time to even comb my hair, much less compose a coherent post for you.  So, consider this my treat for all those months that I left you neglected and yearning to drool over your computer screens from these food images.


One of my personal photographic goals for this year was to really learn how to shoot in manual so I could maximize the capability of my new Canon Mark II 5D when shooting food. When I first started out, I shot primarily in aperture priority auto mode, but so many fellow photographers and friends kept insisting that once I learned to master my camera, I would be mesmerized by what it was capable of giving me. And boy oh boy, I've been pretty amazed! I gravitate to visual imagery when it comes to blogs which clearly explains why I truly believe in honing in on this food photography craft alongside my food styling. When I finally decided to rebrand this blog, I knew that I wanted clean lines with lots of white space in the design aesthetic. As I sought to further elevate my food photography style, I also grappled with figuring out the mood that I wanted to convey with my images, and in the end, I realized that I love images that are light, slightly overexposed, natural, and cheery. I only photograph using natural light and I actually make & taste my food, so what you see is really what you get. I don't believe in adding fake inedible props to spruce up the look of my food because that's just not my style. In any case, if you're here reading this, I presume that you share my sentiments. Food is really an art, and food styling is how I paint on my canvas.

Speaking of which, I hope you enjoy this refreshing Calamari + Pomelo Salad with a Chili-Lime Dressing because it's just the type of salad that makes me want to snap pictures all day long! I had a fabulous time shooting this particular dish because if you haven't guessed it yet, I am smitten with citrus, especially blush-toned ones like these ruby pomelos!

Ruby Red Pomelo | via Chandara Creative
I love the ruby blush-pink flesh of pomelos

Ruby Red Pomelo | via Chandara Creative
Broken segments of pomelo getting ready to mingle with the calamari

Chili-Lime Dressing | via Chandara Creative
Chili-lime dressing infused with flavors of garlic and fresh Thai bird chili peppers

Red Onions | via Chandara Creative
The secret to crisp strands of vibrant red onions is to soak them in an ice bath
Calamari & Pomelo Salad | via Chandara Creative
Calamari + Pomelo Salad w/Chili-Lime Dressing | via Chandara Creative

Calamari + Pomelo Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing
Recipe Adapted from Calamari, Pomelo and Chili Salad, Gourmet Traveller (Feb 2009)
Serves 2

• 2 large calamari, cleaned
• 1/2 ruby red pomelo (or citrus fruit), peeled & segmented
• 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
• 1 small cucumber, preferably Persian or Japanese variety, sliced into matchsticks
• 6 sprigs fresh mint leaves, chopped or leaves plucked
• 6 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
• 1 tbs lemongrass, thinly sliced
• 2 Thai birdseye chili peppers (fresh or frozen), thinly sliced or minced
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 2 tbs lime juice, adjust according to taste
• 2 tbs fish sauce, adjust according to taste
• 2 tsp light soft palm sugar, or plain granulated sugar
• 1 tsp sea salt (for blanching calamari)
• Ice
• Water

  • Instructions:
  • 1. Prepare the chili-lime dressing by combining lime juice, chili peppers, garlic, sugar, and fish sauce in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  • 2.  Slice the calamari into 1/2"  bite-size rings.  Blanch the calamari in lightly salted boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on its thickness, or until calamari is no longer translucent. Be careful not to overcook the calamari or it will taste rubbery. Remove from water and shock the calamari by immersing it an ice bath. 
  • 3. Toss calamari with chili-lime dressing, herbs, broken pomelo segments, lemongrass, red onions, and cucumbers. Serve immediately and Enjoy!


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