Squid Salad

I really dislike wasting food.  I do my best to only purchase food that I will use.  It’s not always easy, schedules change, things come up, plans change and as a result I end up with rotten food.  This next recipe I was originally going to make a week ago, but life happened and I found myself having to throw away most of the ingredients and then having to repurchase them all again.  I don’t know what is was for this recipe but last week I planned to make it on 3 different nights, and then this week the first time I was going to make it didn’t happen either.

The recipe comes from a cookbook which I have made some yummy recipes from already.  If you are in the market for a new cookbook I recommend checking this one out.

The recipe tagged was for Salt and Pepper Calamari Salad.  To start with I took squid tubes (I ended up buying frozen squid tubes for this recipe, the first week I had planned to make the recipe I was unable to find fresh squid so I bought the frozen instead) and cut them along the side to open them up flat.  I washed the inside and then scored diagonal lines across the inner side of the squid.

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I then cut into 1 1/4 inch wide strips.

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I placed the strips in a bowl, squeezed the juice from one lemon over the strips, mixed, covered and then refrigerated for a half hour.

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I then made a salt and pepper combination.  The recipe called for Sichuan peppercorns, which were a new to me ingredient.

Sichuan peppercorns. Very fragrant!
Sichuan peppercorns. Very fragrant!

I put the peppercorns in my spice grinder with coarse sea salt and chili flakes.

These were then all grinded up together and set aside to save for later.
These were then all grinded up together and set aside to save for later.

I then made the dressing for the salad.  I mixed rice wine vinegar, a crushed garlic clove and sugar.  Then I gradually whisked in olive oil and sesame oil.  I set the dressing aside till later.

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all whisked up!

Onto to the salad!  I took peapods and blanched (which means putting them into boiling water) for 1 minute.

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I then drained and put them in a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking any longer.  I drained them from the ice water and mixed them with watercress, cilantro leaves, cucumber and green onions.

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Back to the calamari (which conveniently at this point my half hour of having the strips sit in lemon juice was up).  I drained the calamari, dried on a paper towel and then tossed in cornstarch.

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Then a few strips at a time I fried in my mini deep fryer for a couple minutes until they were lightly golden.  I removed, drained on a paper towel and sprinkled with my salt/pepper combination.

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When all the strips had been fried I tossed the salad with the dressing and then topped with the squid.

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The Verdict:  Perhaps I have a bit of an attitude about this one since I had to buy my ingredients twice and I had such a hard time actually having time to make this one but I probably wouldn’t make this one again.  The salad was really fresh and tasty and the calamari was tasty as well but this one seemed to take FOREVER to make.  (It probably didn’t help that my friends were out eating/drinking and they kept texting me to come out.)  There was quite a bit of prep and a lot of elements to this recipe.  But I will say that organization of this recipe was great, so even with all the elements it wasn’t overwhelming.  As I stated at the beginning of this post I really have made quite a few good recipes from this cookbook.  It’s pub food but almost a more elevated version of the typical.