Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chargrilled Lemon Herb Squid Salad

Chargrilled Squid Salad 1, cropped

Yes, I know it's now Sunday, but here rather belatedly is my contribution this week to Magazine Mondays.  This just seems to have been the week that got away from me - Monday was Labour Day here in New Zealand, which was an opportunity for us to head out to the beach, enjoy a family picnic, bask in the first really warm rays of spring sunshine, and have a complete day off.  Great stuff, but somehow I've been playing "catch up" ever since.

So, in the same spirit as the "Claytons" post I shared with you yesterday, I am once again going to spare you the entertaining preamble and get straight to the recipe.  This recipe comes from the October 2007 issue of ABC Delicious magazine.  This salad is quite simply wonderful - the squid is marinated in a lemony, herby bath before being grilled or barbequed over high heat, then served on top of a fresh, crisp, green salad tossed with a lemony vinaigrette spiked with chilli.  This is the perfect springtime dish - the perfect finish to a day out in the sun, or would also be wonderful for a light lunch.

If you're a bit squeamish about buying whole squid and cleaning them yourself, ask your fishmonger to do it for you or buy ready to go squid/calamari tubes.  I had never cleaned them myself before this, but decided to be brave and give it a go - it was actually much easier than I anticipated and was not nearly so "yukky" as I thought it might be.  Wouldn't hesitate to do this again.

Life is so "convenient" these days that it is very easy to be very detached from the source of our food, and it's very easy when you pick up that clean white "tube" at the fishmongers to completely overlook where it came from.  Getting involved in the process of cleaning the squid helped me to have a greater appreciation of what I was actually eating, and respect for that creature that was once swimming around in the ocean.  I'm not opposed to eating animals, but I think it is important to do it with some degree of reverence and appreciation - it is not something we should just take for granted .... ever.

Greece 376, cropped

Chargrilled Lemon Herb Squid Salad Recipe
Adapted from recipe in ABC Delicious Magazine, October 2007
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

I'm being a bit liberal with quantities here, as this is one of those recipes where nothing needs to be too specific.  You could easily adjust for more or less people, or you may want to vary quantities depending on whether you are serving for lunch or dinner or as part of a multi-course meal or buffet.

For each person allow -
1 or 2 whole squid (or cleaned tubes), depending on size
(Also bear in mind that if you are using whole squid, you will also have the benefit of getting the tentacles as well, so you might need a little less than if you were using just the tubes - I would suggest something like 3 whole squid for 2 people)

Marinade (enough for 4 large squid):
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juice & zest
handful chopped Vietnamese mint (original recipe uses oregano)
handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt & pepper

mixed baby salad leaves
cucumber, peel, deseed & slice
avocado, cut into chunks or slices
celery, slice thinly
green capsicum, deseed & slice
(original recipe also used snow pea sprouts, which I didn't have)

1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 long red chilli, remove seeds & chop finely
1/2 teaspoon palm sugar (original recipe uses brown sugar)
flaky sea salt

First prepare the squid.  If you decide to have a go at cleaning the squid yourself, you can find a good demonstration on YouTube here:

Once cleaned, cut the squid tubes down one long side and open out flat.  With a sharp knife, score (don't cut all the way through) the inside of the squid body in a criss-cross pattern, then cut the whole thing into about 8 pieces (if large), or just into quarters (if small).

Now to the marinade.  In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, freshly grated lemon zest, chopped herbs, and season well with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add the squid pieces to the bowl and toss well to coat completely with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Chargrilled Squid Salad 5, cropped

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  You will note that I haven't given any specific quantities - feel free to use these in any proportion that appeals to you.  Leave out an ingredient if you don't have it, or add in another ingredient that you might have on hand.  Treat this list as just suggestions - my only real dictum here would be (and this may be just one of my "things") is:  whatever you add in - keep it green!  Please don't make this a home for tomatoes or carrots just because you happen to have a couple lying around.  The only hint of red I approve of here is the little bit of chilli in the dressing.

You could now either divide this salad up onto individual serving plates, or keep it in one big bowl or platter to serve family style.

Next make the dressing by simply combining all the ingredients in a screw-top jar, shake well and taste - adjust seasoning if necessary.

Preheat a barbeque or a grill pan over very high heat.  When hot, add the squid (in small batches), scored-side down.  Cook for just a couple of minutes each side, until chargrilled in appearance, taking care not to overcook or you will end up with "rubber bands".

Chargrilled Squid Salad 4, cropped

Immediately the squid pieces are cooked, remove from the heat, set aside, and repeat until all pieces are cooked.

Chargrilled Squid Salad 3, cropped

Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss gently to combine.

Chargrilled Squid Salad 2, cropped

Arrange the squid over the top of the salad and serve while still warm.

I'm submitting this post to Magazine Mondays - mmmm, can't wait to see what else is cooking.  You can find last week's round-up here at ReTorte.

I'm also submitting this post to the Hearth and Soul blog hop, a place where you'll find lots of wonderful people who are passionate about great food and cooking from the heart - do go and have a look at what they're all cooking this week.


  1. It looks yummy, but I don't believe that I have ever seen squid anywhere around here.

  2. Looks fantastic very different from how we make never had like this
    Sue anytime u come to Canada drop in for some cinnamon buns :)

  3. This looks delicious and great video on how to clean the squid!

  4. Pam - you might come across it called "calamari", which is basically the same thing. Or if you don't get it fresh where you are, you will almost certainly find squid tubes or calamari tubes in the freezer cabinet at your supermarket. You could even use squid rings which you can probably find frozen.

    Hi Torview - thanks so much - Canada is a country which is definitely on my radar to visit one day, and your cinnamon buns looked so good I could just about make a trip for those alone :-)

    Hi Peggy - thanks for visiting - there are literally dozens of YouTube videos out there on how to clean a squid, but this one seemed like the one that was most clear and easy to follow.


  5. I've had calamari many times in restaurants but have never made it at home. To be honest, I never even thought about it, it was just always one of those "restaurant dishes" for me. Now I'm intrigued, I'll have to check at the fish counter at my local store now to see if they sell it. Thanks for the eye-opener! :o)

  6. Hi Brenda - funny how there are certain things that we often choose to have in a restaurant and never try to make at home, even though they can be quite easy. I'm a bit like that with Japanese food - somehow, I feel as though I don't ever want to learn to cook Japanese because it's something I can really enjoy when I go out without thinking "I could have made that at home".
    Sue :-)

  7. Oh Suzy Q! You know, when I was a young college student one summer I worked on an island in new england as a bar tender and for the first month they do not give you your pay, so you stay. We had to subsist on our meager tips, and so, each night, we would go out under the lights on the dock and with a squid jig that looks like a cigarette butt, pull tons of them out of the water and flip them over our heads so as not to get inked. A quick clean, soak in milk and sliced up they would go into a pot with onions, garlic and tomato and get poured over a box of pasta. We ate that for lunch and dinner for a month. I haven't even looked at a squid recipe since then, but YOURS looks so good, I may just try it! Thanks so much for sharing this on the hearth and soul hop! hugs! Alex

  8. Wow, I really like this recipe, and can't wait to try it. I learned something from the video...what we thought was a little baby octopus in our bag of frozen seafood mix was really squid head!

  9. If I'm to be completely honest, I've been intimidated by the idea of cooking squid and have let my childhood musings of "slimy seafood" mar my desire for it. At the first sight of your salad picture though, my thought was "That looks delicious! I want to try it!" so thanks for sharing and expanding my seafood horizons!

  10. Oh, I wish we had a fishmonger so I could even try cleaning my own squid - I so agree that we need to know that the food before us was once a living being and to respect that. Thanks for sharing this with us at Hearth and Soul!

  11. Oh Alex, I loved your story about the squid - I don't think I would ever look at another squid either if I'd lived through that :-)

    Patty - thanks for visiting and commenting. Pleased you found the video informative.

    EatHealthyLiveWell - hope you give this a go - I can promise you it is definitely not slimy at all - I was worried about that too, but found it was fine.

    Christy - shame you don't have a local fishmonger. You may be able to find frozen squid/calamari tubes or rings at your supermarket, but nothing quite like having it fresh.

    Sue :-)

  12. I love grilled squid. I've never done it myself but I think I'll give it a try next spring/summer.

  13. Hi Lynn - I do hope you give it a try - I'm sure you'll love it.


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