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Squid  Pea Salad
<p>Jaime Chavez&rsquo;s cooking builds on the philosophy of respect for tradition and simple flavors.</p>

Signature recipe: Squid & Pea Salad

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Before rising star chef Jaime Chavez arrived to guide the kitchen of Sirena Gourmet Latin Seafood in San Diego, the 30-year-old spent time working at El Cingle just outside Barcelona. At the time, El Cingle embraced a modern, avant garde movement that included molecular cuisine, much to the chagrin of Maria, the executive chef’s mother. She favored traditional Catalan dishes as did Chavez, who believed in her philosophy of respect for tradition. She taught him many traditional dishes, including this squid and pea salad starter, which is one of Sirena’s biggest sellers. “Maria taught me that the best dishes are made from simple flavors, and when we respect the products, they give us back the very best of them,” says Chavez.

Chef Jaime Chavez

From: Executive Chef Jaime Chavez, Sirena Gourmet Latin Seafood, San Diego. Yield: 4

8 each squid tubes and tentacles
1½ cups fresh English peas
1 tsp. chopped garlic
½ cup sliced celery
½ cup sliced fennel
3 Tbsp. crispy bacon
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. Champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp. chopped mint
to taste, salt
to taste, pepper

In a hot pan with olive oil, sauté garlic and squid; cut into rings. Add English peas, season with salt and pepper, then add the vinegar and mint. Remove from heat and add celery, fennel and the crispy bacon. Serve.

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