Squid and Tomato Salad

Squid and Tomato Salad (Serves 2-4)

I watched Giada guide viewers through preparing a Calamari, Tomato, and Caper Salad on the Food Network the other day. I have wanted to try cooking with squid (calamari is Italian for squid) and her recipe looked simple, so I made a trip to Whole Foods. The fishmonger gave me a choice of body or tentacles. I was planning to cut the body into rings, so asked him to hold the tentacles. He included a few anyway, as I discovered when I got home, so I cooked the tentacles with the rings and ate them without noticing a difference. The tomatoes I was able to buy in December were disappointing. Tomato season where I live in Georgia passed a few months ago. I became a tomato snob this past year as I enjoyed a variety of locally grown heirloom tomatoes fresh from the farm. I think this dish would be outstanding if made with Cherokee Purples in July or August. However, it was still good enough that I may make it again in January. I ate the first half of this recipe hot from the stove top and the second half straight-from-the-refrigerator-cold the next day. I was surprised by how much I liked it cold.

Prep and Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredient list:

1 pound of squid body
5 Roma tomatoes
1 jar of capers
1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Dried parsley
Garlic powder
Black pepper

Directions: Cut the tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Slice the squid into 1/4 to 1/2-inch rings and season with a dusting of salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and season with a dusting of salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes to taste. Let the tomatoes cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add the squid rings to the hot tomatoes and let cook two minutes, stirring frequently. Squid becomes chewy if cooked too long, so don’t keep it in the skillet longer than 3 minutes. When done, pour the tomatoes and squid into a colander and let as much liquid as possible drain from the mixture. Meanwhile, zest one lemon over a small bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from both halves into the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of capers. Season the oil, lemon, and capers with salt and black pepper and whisk everything together well. Move the tomatoes and squid to a serving bowl. Pour the oil-lemon-caper dressing over the tomatoes and squid and toss gently until all the ingredients are coated. Sprinkle dried parsley over the Squid and Tomato Salad. Enjoy!

Notes: This recipe is close to Giada’s. Differences include my cooking the tomatoes twice as long and using garlic powder and dried parsley instead of fresh.

If you are willing to do the work, fresh parsley is great. I like fresh better than dried, but the convenience of adding dried parsley beats the work of buying fresh parsley, keeping it moist in the refrigerator, and chopping it when ready to use for me.

I don’t know why the capers are hiding in my picture. They are in the bowl and important to the overall taste of the dish.

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