2018 has been all about positive change for me and I’m in my 7th week of a healthy eating plan. I had to look at my diary because I wasn’t exactly sure if it was 7 or 8 weeks and this is a good thing. For the first few weeks it was utter torture and I was counting every day, constantly hungry and fixated on eating all my allowed foods at certain times. I’m more in tune now with what I need to be eating so things are feeling easier. This is the way I need to be eating for the rest of my life, and one thing I have to do is get better at planning. Having a tasty lean protein meal for dinner can be make or break. I’m much more satisfied when my supper tastes amazing despite being without any carbs. This healthy calamari salad is one of those dishes that is perfect for me and it’s ridiculously easy to make. The calamari take 1 minute to cook and that is it. You can eat it on the same day, but I advise making it the day before, allowing the flesh to marinate in all the vibrant flavours. It’s also the perfect salad to adapt to your taste and add a variety of other things. I’ve kept it quite simple and Mediterranean with just red onions, parsley, olives, parsley, tomatoes, lemon and olive oil.
In the past I have always loved flash cooking calamari over high heat and in oil. Like my salt & pepper squid recipe and love all the crunchy textural bits, but with this recipe you do not compromise on any flavour. It’s a perfect dish for sharing or to put out as a starter mezze platter if you have guests. I love it over a bowl of chopped up mixed greens, like baby spinach, watercress, rocket and romaine lettuce. The marinade makes a delicious dressing so nothing else is required.
I buy packs of frozen baby calamari from my fishmonger that has 70% tubes and 30% baby tentacles which I LOVE, soo keep it on hand in the freezer and easily defrost in water if needs be.
The dressing ingredients are important here for flavour, so pull out your best olive oil for this one. As a recipe variation and if you wanted to really ramp up the summery Med flavours, you could add anchovies and capers.
Recipe – serves 4 as a salad or starter
500gms baby calamari tubes and tentacles
Juice from one medium lemon – about 2 tablespoons
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, squashed
1 small red onion or red shallot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, cut lengthways and then very finely chopped
1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
handful of black kalamata olives (as many as you would like)
2 Tbsp finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Sea salt flakes & black pepper
Pinch of dried chilli flakes or chopped red chilli to taste (optional)
Bring a pot of salty water to the boil. Rinse the calamari and pat dry. Cut the tubes into 1 – ½ cm strips and half the tentacles if they are really big. If they are baby ones, leave them whole.
Drop the calamari into the boiling water and cook for one minute and until firm and white. Remove and immediately drain, rinse and then place in a bowl of ice water with ice blocks to stop the cooking process. This ensures you get really tender calamari.
Make the marinade by placing the red onions in a bowl then adding all the other ingredients. Toss to combine adjusting the seasoning to preference. It needs a fair amount of salt and pepper.
Add the cooled and drained calamari and coat it well in the dressing. Store in the fridge over night to marinate.
A few of my other calamari recipes
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