Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Warm Calamari Salad – The Best-Laid Plans of Squid and Men

There was nothing wrong with this warm calamari salad, except the most important thing. I’ve had “cast-iron calamari” before, which featured gorgeously seared, almost charred, pieces of squid. While well caramelized, the calamari was still tender and moist, which means it was only cooked for a few minutes, over what must have been dangerously high heat.

I figured as long as I got my pan hot enough, I should be fine. Wrong. Well, technically right, but wrong because I added way too much into the pan at one time. I really needed to do a single order at a time, and it probably would have been fine, but once that whole pound went in, the temp dropped, and you saw the results.

I still enjoyed a flavorful, healthy lunch, but not the one I’d dreamed about. The good news however, was that I ate the leftovers cold, tossed with the same salad ingredients, and it was actually better. So, if you are planning on doing the same recipe, as shown, I would suggest serving it chilled instead. I hope you give this, or that, a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Warm Calamari Salads:
1 pound cleaned calamari
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder
pinch of cayenne
1 packed teaspoon light brown sugar
1 sliced jalapeno, seeded
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste once cooked
For the salad base:
4 handfuls baby arugula
1 can (15-oz) cooked white beans, drained, rinsed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil


kinjun ranger said...

I always love the freakishly small wooden spoon appearances. As for the calamari, I am definitely going to give this a try. I am not a huge fan of arugula but it seems that the peppery flavor will go very well in this dish, so I will include it. As you pointed out, I will cook the calamari in smaller batches to hopefully pull off what you were going for. Thanks as always Chef John.

Lorena Sims said...

I should try that! looks so good!

Connie Go said...

Hi Chef John! Where do you buy your freakishly small wooden spoon?

cdb said...

I feel like this is at least the second calamari vid you've done that hasn't turned out as expected. Keep on tryin'!

Lisa M said...

Hey Chef John, it still looked good regardless. So if you were to cook only half at a time to get it seared, how long would I need to let a cast iron pan like yours to properly heat back up between cooking, and is there a 'best' way to keep the first half hot white the 2nd half cooks?

Anonymous said...

I made your ketchup... I made your Merguez Sausage...and Cous-cous Primavera...You Win. I Will Not make this:) (Still love ya!)

Jude said...

Any advice for cooking octopus?

Sandra from Montreal said...

I'm with you, Jason Smith! ;)
Love (and we've tried many) most of Chef John's recipes though!

Wishbone said...

Chef John, very nice.
One of the best meals that I ever had was in Monterey on the pier.
The squid boats just arrived and they clean and cooked on order.
Deep fried squid, French fries and a Becks beer, wow.... as long the seagulls don't poop on you...
..wear a cowboy hat..

PHI said...

Chef John how about sub the squid with octopus? I like the flavor of thus dish and I think it deserves another chance on the texture side... Thank you