This week, this “Grill-More” Girl continues with her seafood grilling adventure. This week it’s Grilled Calamari Salad. Before you say “eww” – read on, you might just change your mind and discover a great new and unusual dish.
Grilled Calamari Salad
Calamari is the Italian word for squid. Though hugely popular in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, most Americans only recognize calamari as that fried appetizer mainstay found on the menu at many a national casual dining chains and Italian restaurants or as some horrific Hollywood created monster of the deep-sea. If that’s how you think of squid, you’re missing out on quite a delectable treat!
Squid is low in both fat and calories, but high in protein. Its firm flesh and torpedo-like shape lend itself to a variety of cooking techniques like grilling, broiling or frying. It can be stuffed, pickled or even eaten raw, as in sushi dishes. Personally, I love grilled squid over a bed of salad for a great, light & healthy dish on a hot summer’s day.
Actually finding a supermarket fish counter or fish monger that carry it fresh might be the biggest challenge you have for this recipe. I’ve seen it lots of times in the frozen food section, but just as I didn’t recommend using frozen scallops on the grill because of the water content from freezing, the same goes for grilling squid.
I found my squid at my local Fairway market (FYI – I’ve also been told that Whole Foods carries fresh squid as well). It was not that expensive, a pound and a quarter cost me just a little over $8.00. An added bonus was that the squid was “cleaned,” meaning that the innards including the beak, ink sac and cuttlebones were already removed. It sure would have been a pain in the neck to clean, especially since it would have been my first time attempting it. However, I do recommend that you check them before grilling; I did find a remnant of a cuttlebone that I had to remove (it’s hard, clear plastic-like cartilage).
Salad with veggies on the left; vinaigrette on the right
Squid should be cooked quickly and over a high heat to avoid it getting touch and chewy. So it’s best that you prep your salad and vinaigrette first since they’ll take the longest to make in this dish. I cut up some romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion. I made my vinaigrette and dressed the salad with half of it. Then I rinsed off my squid and separated the bodies from the tentacles. I decided to use both parts for this dish, though you could just use the bodies. I quickly tossed them with some olive oil, salt & pepper so they wouldn’t stick to the grill and cooked them on the grill for about three minutes on each side.
Start and finish with the squid on the grill, cook fast on high heat
After removing the squid from the grill I tossed it in the bowl with the remaining vinaigrette for a few minutes, allowing all the flavors to soak in before arranging over the salad bed I created and topping off with the remaining marinating liquid and just a light sprinkle of feta cheese.
When cooked properly, the ivory colored flesh of the squid becomes very tender and has sort of a nutty flavor. I did have one squid that was rather thick, and though it was cooked, it could have used another minute of two on the grill. Next time if I see I have a thick-skinned squid, I’ll make sure to butterfly it so it can cook more evenly.
Grilled Calamari Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes or less
Serves: 2-3 people
For the Vinaigrette:
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup pitted olives, Green Greek or Kalamata, quartered
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice & rind
2 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
4 -6 oz salad, washed and dried
½ cup Cherry Tomatoes, diced
½ cup cucumber, diced
¼ of a red onion, julienne cut
Feta cheese (totally optional)
For the Squid:
1 lb of cleaned baby squid, separating bodies from tentacles.
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.In a serving bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried spices and salt & pepper to make vinaigrette.
2.Chop salad, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. Place in a long serving dish and dress with about ½ of vinaigrette.
3.Turn grill on to medium-high heat, letting grill get nice and hot. Place squid on squid on the grill and char each side for 3 minutes until squid is opaque.
4.Remove squid from pan and toss in a bowl with the other half of the vinaigrette and let it rest for 3 minutes.
5.Using tongs, place squid on top of salad bed and drizzle remaining vinaigrette over the salad.
6.Totally optional, but you can top off with a little fresh crumbled Feta cheese.
With just a little bit of planning and preparation there’s always time for a home cooked meal! Make sure that you check out my “Grill-More Girl” Cristina over at centraljerseyworkingmoms.com to see what she cooked up this week as well.
But before you hop on over there, don’t forget to link up your yummy grilling recipe below! If there is a type of specific kind of grilling recipe you’d like for me to try, leave a comment below and I’ll do it!
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