I remember, many years ago, when the only calamari I knew about was the fried stuff- (which is fantastic too!). My first experience with a lovely sautéed calamari was at a restaurant in Pike Place market that is actually well known for this dish. The first time I actually cooked squid was at my first restaurant job in college. I was working in the pantry making salads, shucking oysters, and grilling whole squids! It is since become a favored ingredient. It takes on flavors nicely, and has a lovely texture as long as you are careful not to overcook it! Squid is used in lots of Mediterranean cooking, and I tried to pay tribute to those influences, while adding a chopped chili for spice.
Spicy Calamari Salad
-2 lb squid, cleaned. Bodies and tentacles separated
-5 Tbs of Olive Oil
-1 fresh red jalapeno, minced
-4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
-1/2 lb of cherry or grape tomatoes
-1 cup of assorted olives
-3 oz drained and rinsed capers
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
-1 lemon’s zest and juice, seperated
-Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
-1 bunch fresh arugula
1) Make sure that the squid is clean and all of the skin, cartilidge and membranes are removed. Reserve the tentacles, and cut the bodies into 1/4 inch rings. Pat the squid dry.
2) Heat 3 Tbs of the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook the garlic and chile until golden brown, about 30 seconds.
3) Add the squid, and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes and wine, and cook for another minute. Add the olives, capers and lemon zest, and cook for another 30 seconds.
4) Remove from heat, and stir in the basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
5) Pile arugula on a platter or divide among plates. Pile the calamari on top, wilting the greens. Drizzle the calamari and arugula with the remaining 2 Tbs olive oil, and lemon juice.
6) Serve immediately, or chill and eat cold as a salad.