It’s finally summer! Are you looking for something different from a traditional potato salad or macaroni salad for your next al fresco dinner party or picnic?
This Italian inspired marinated calamari salad has me dreaming of a seaside villa in Sicily, sitting under a vine-covered arbor, sipping a chilled rosé and eating freshly caught grilled fish, marinated anchovies, and of course, this salad. Can’t you just picture it?
As always with seafood, buy the freshest product you can find. Barring that, you can buy frozen too. If you purchase a product that’s already cooked, skip the cleaning and cooking steps below.
Note; I’ve also made this dish in the winter as part of the Italian Christmas dinner called “The Feast of the Seven Fishes”.
Marinated Wild Calamari Salad plus how to clean and cook tender calamari.
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: calamari, salad, seafood
2.5poundswild calamaricleaned and sliced
3stalkscelerythinly sliced on a bias
1/2eachred bell pepperjulienne cut 1.5" long
1/2eachyellow bell pepperjulienne cut 1.5" long
3Tablespoonschopped flat leaf parsley
2fluid ouncesfresh lemon juice
1teaspoonminced garlicabout 2 cloves
4fluid ouncesextra virgin olive oil
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
How to Clean the Calamari:
If the calamari is whole, start by separating the body from the tentacles and rinse well. Then, clean the calamari by removing the "beak" from the center of the tentacles and the piece of cartilage from inside the body (this may look like a 1/4" x 3" piece of clear plastic, but it's not). Rinse well. Slice the body crosswise into rings about 1/4" wide.
Cooking the Calamari:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place a colander in the sink and get a large bowl of ice water ready.
Set a timer for 1 minute and then drop the cleaned and sliced calamari into the boiling water and stir with a large spoon. Blanch for 1 minute and then drain into the colander in the sink. Quickly drop the drained calamari into the ice water to shock it (stop it from cooking). Let it rest in the ice water for about 5 minutes and then drain.
DO NOT overcook the calamari or you will have tough rubber bands instead of tender squid!
Make the Salad:
Place the drained calamari in a large bowl.
Slice the peppers and the celery. Mince the shallots and chop the parsley.
Combine the calamari with the vegetables.
Make the Marinade:
Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Pour the marinade over the calamari and the vegetables and gently combine.
Allow to marinate 3-4 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before eating so that the oil in the marinade will not be too thick from being cold.
Taste and correct seasoning before serving.
Other summer salads you might enjoy from Former Chef: