Calamari or squid is one of my favorites among the many seafood choices here at home. Pulpo, or octopus is a close second. Lucky for us, squid is available almost all year round in the markets, but summer is when it is at its best, when it is so fresh the meat is sweetish and tender.
This salad recipe benefits from the freshest ingredients and a simple handling of the calamari — just a quick turn on the grill and it is done.
This dish also travels well, we have taken this insalata along on weekends out of town. It can be made a day ahead, chucked in the fridge, and tossed into a picnic stash the next day.
And yes, it does go well with beer or any alcohol of your choice. Enjoy!
Insalata di calamari
1/2 kilo (500g) medium size squid – whole, cleaned (remove ink sac)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 small lemon (or 2 calamansi)
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
2 red Thai chillies, deseeded and chopped finely
4-5 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Pat the squid dry with paper towels. Season the squid with salt and pepper to taste.
Place a grill pan on the stove over over medium-high heat.
Combine lemon juice, coriander, chillies, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and whisk until the dressing is well incorporated. Set aside.
Drizzle some olive oil over the squid and then place on the grill. Let cook for about a minute or so on each side. They will cook quickly, so you need to take them off the grill once they turn opaque.
Transfer the grilled squid on to a chopping board and cut into bite-sized rings, but leave the heads whole. Toss with the dressing until evenly coated. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Drizzle over some more olive oil and sprinkle chopped cilantro over the dish right before serving. Insalata di calamari can be eaten warm or cold.