Squid and Fennel Salad With Citrus and Basil

This salad is bright and refreshing, with lots of textures from all the citrus and the squid

This salad is bright and refreshing, with lots of textures from all the citrus and the squid, and pops of flavor from all the fresh herbs. If you can’t get the citrus listed below, try any low-acid citrus fruit. 


  • 2 Meyer lemons, plus zest
  • 1 Cara Cara orange
  • 2 Paige mandarins
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 pomelo
  • 2 head fennel
  • 2 bunches of basil, Italian Thai, lemon opal, etc.
  • 1 bunch peppermint or spearmint
  • 1/2 bunch tarragon
  • 1.5 Pounds cleaned fresh squid, tubes and tentacles
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  • Canola or grapeseed oil for cooking
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Aleppo pepper, crushed red pepper, or chile oil


Zest Meyer lemons and 1 orange with a microplane; reserve zest.

With a sharp serrated knife, cut off the top and bottom off each citrus so it sits stable on a cutting board, and slice off zest, pith, and membrane. Over a bowl, cut out supremes or segments by cutting along each side of the membrane toward the core, and allowing the supremes to fall into the bowl. You should have about 4 cups of citrus fruit supremes.

Shave the fennel head as thin as you can, cutting crosswise on a mandoline. Set the shaved fennel aside in a separate bowl. If you want to do this ahead of time, you can store the fennel in ice water with a bit of lemon to keep it bright and crunchy. You should have about 4 cups of shaved fennel.

Pick the basil, mint, and tarragon. Slice the basil and mint top to bottom with a sharp knife or tear the leaves in half. You should have about 2 cups of herbs.

Spread the squid out on paper towels, blot dry, and season with salt and pepper. Heat a sturdy pan on medium high heat. Working in batches, add a bit of canola oil, and sear the squid. It helps to press down on the squid with a spatula as it cooks to keep it in contact with the pan. Flip the squid after 1-2 minutes, and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side. The squid is done when the liquid in the center of the tubes runs clear. Remove to a sheet pan to rest while you finish the rest of the squids. Wipe your pan between batches to avoid the squid juices burning.

When you’ve finished cooking all the squid, slice the tubes into very thin rings.

To assemble, put fennel, squid, Meyer lemon and orange zest, citrus supremes, and herbs into a large mixing bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and season with Aleppo pepper, crushed red pepper, or chile oil to taste. Toss gently, so you don’t break up the citrus. Divide evenly between 4 to 6 bowls.