Calamari – squid to our friends in the marine biology sector – is a wonderful addition to one’s seafood repertoire. Easy to cook, a marvel to present and a delight to eat, this calamari salad is a true classic. Try it and achieve star status amongst your cooking competitors.
To make calamari and green bean salad for four, you will need:
1. We begin with the calamari. Your friendly supermarket freezer is likely to have it in three styles: steaks, rings and whole squid, head and tentacles included. Cleaning squid is a joyless experience, so stick with the steaks or rings. If you have chosen calamari steaks, cut them up into 12mm sections.
2. Finely grate the ginger and garlic. Cut the spring onions into 10mm sections on the diagonal, white and green together. Rinse the dhania and tear the leaves into quarters by hand. Retain a few whole leaves for the final decoration at serving time.
3. Now for the chilli. If your dining companions are chilli-adverse, leave it out of the mix. Otherwise, split it longitudinally, discard the seeds, and finely chop the rest. Squeeze the lemons and measure four tablespoons of juice.
4. Many Thai- and Vietnamese- influenced recipes demand peanut oil, but this is hard to find. So mix a little peanut butter with canola or sunflower oil. Ensure that the sesame oil you use is fresh. Buy a small bottle; this oil is potent!
5. Drop the beans into lightly salted, boiling water for two minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
6. Place the calamari sections (rings or slices) in a bowl and add a little cooking oil. Stir to ensure an even coating. In a second bowl, mix two tablespoons of cooking oil, the sesame oil, fish sauce, lemon juice, ginger, garlic and half the chilli.
7. Heat the grill in your oven. Arrange the oiled calamari sections on a baking sheet in one layer and grill for three minutes a side, turning once or until lightly browned. Remove and allow to cool.
8. Mix the calamari and beans in a serving bowl. Add the sauce and stir, then add the second half of the chopped chilli (optional), the spring onions and the torn dhania leaves.
Toss this to distribute all the ingredients evenly, then serve with a single sprig of dhania as a garnish for each diner. Slightly exotic, wholly delicious!
David Basckin is a freelance journalist and videographer.
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