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


Unknown 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!

Unknown 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 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