Great Balls of Squid!

September 15, 2015

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(Dinner for one in Soho – to remind you what 1980 felt like.)

There’s a faint orange glint to the trees – if you stare really hard, you’ll see it – and the air is turning cooler. Night comes on more quickly now, and the city streets seem quieter.  On evenings like this I like to stroll through lower Manhattan, passing food vendors, picking up something warm to munch on my way home. Near East 9th Street, when I’m lucky, I stop for made-to-order takoyaki, irresistible little octopus balls in the style of Osaka. Flipped from small circular grill molds right into my hands, their savory-sweet, slightly briny aroma makes it impossible to wait for them to cool down. And what’s a burned lip when you’ve got something this crisp and delicious?

Just now, cruising through a 1980 issue of Gourmet, I came upon a squid ball recipe. It’s squid, not octopus.  It’s Cantonese, not Japanese. But it still felt auspicious. With its sprinkle of Sichuan peppercorn salt it seems a perfect way to welcome Autumn.

 

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