In a previous life, I was a ravenous sushi hound, but there was always one sashimi variant that made me turn up my nose: Raw squid — a.k.a. ika. (As in “EEEK! AAAH!”) I found it too slimy, inky, and just plain icky. Cooked calamari was a different matter — I’d down a plate happily — but my aversion to the raw stuff caused me to avoid squid altogether at the market, and I never learned to prepare it properly. Someone else would have to cook the tentacled sea beasties for me.
After all, this is what usually pops into my head when I think about calamari:
But this week, I got a pound of squid in my seafood CSA delivery. It sat in the fridge for a day while I pondered how to cook it.
Since my super-chef sister knows how to make EVERYTHING, I rang her up and she gave me the deets on how to throw together a quick and easy flash-grilled calamari salad.
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
- I medium red bell pepper
- 1 pound squid, cleaned and gutted
- 2 tablespoons melted bacon grease or fat of choice
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
Start by placing the bell pepper directly on your gas range and charring it until black all over.
Place the pepper in a bowl and cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and let the sucker steam for at least 15 minutes. I usually leave the bell pepper alone for a few hours while I go about my important business of blogging and yelling at the kids to put away their toys.
Rub off the blackened skin and remove the stem, seeds, and ribs.
Cut the bell pepper into thin strips and set aside.
If you’re lucky like me, you can get ridiculously fresh, sustainably-caught squid from a groovy seafood seller like Siren SeaSA. Mine came cleaned and gutted, but if you need to do some dirty work, check out this handy guide.
I rinsed and dried the squid and cut each one open so it would lie flat on the grill.
You can remove the skin if you want, but I was too lazy. (Note: my sis HIGHLY recommends removing the skin because it’s unsightly in her opinion.)
Toss the squid with the bacon grease…
…and salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the shallots and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and let them mellow out.
Preheat your gas grill on high. Once it’s super hot, toss on the squid and cook for 20-30 seconds on each side.
The tentacles take a tiny bit longer to cook, but don’t let the calamari linger on the grill until the meat turns to rubber.
Once the squid is flash-grilled…
…slice it up…
…and toss the pieces in a bowl.
Add the juice from half a lemon…
…pour in the olive oil…
…and toss in the the balsamic-marinated shallots, sliced peppers, salt, and pepper.
Mix everything well…
…and sprinkle on the parsley.
Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed with extra lemon juice, salt, or pepper.
The result: A tangy, toothsome, easy-to-make salad of grilled calamari and sweet roasted peppers.