Squid is one of the most abundant forms of seafood in the global market, yet few Americans have ever enjoyed it in any other way than breaded and deep-fried with a marinara chaser. With that type of treatment, it could be a Blooming Onion and you wouldn’t know the difference, would you?
This salad has all the trappings of the much-adored appetizer—crunch from the peanuts, tomatoes, a bit of spice—but so much more. We don’t want to promise that you’ll never go back to the fried stuff after this, but it’s a distinct possibility.
Instead of a heaping mess of fried dough, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of flavor you can actually taste with our calamari version.
220 calories, 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 590 mg sodium
1 lb squid, cleaned, tentacles reserved for another use
1⁄2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1⁄2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (preferably sambal oelek)
4 cups watercress (Watercress isn’t always easy to find. Baby arugula, or even a few handfuls of basil leaves, can easily take its place here.)
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
1 medium tomato, chopped
1⁄2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1⁄4 cup roasted peanuts
How to Make It
- Preheat a grill.
- Toss the squid bodies with the oil, and generously season with salt and lots of black pepper.
- When the grill is very hot, add the squid and grill for about 5 minutes, until lightly charred all over.
- Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili sauce in a mixing bowl and whisk to blend.
- Slice the grilled squid into 1⁄2″ rings.
- In a salad bowl, toss the squid, watercress, cucumber, tomato, onion, and peanuts with the dressing.
- Divide the salad among 4 plates.
Eat This Tip
Grilling squid ranks right up there next to tying your shoes and making your bed in the difficulty category, yet most people are terrified of the prospect. Purchase whole squid bodies (available fully cleaned, fresh or frozen, at any decent fish market or quality grocery store), and either grill them whole over high heat for no more than 5 minutes, or cut them into rings and sauté in olive oil for the same amount of time.
It’s surprisingly easy, but an impressive skill to have when it comes to whipping up a crowd-pleasing appetizer like this.