Pan-Roasted Calamari Salad with Tomatoes and Avocado

By • May 1, 2011 • 17 Comments

19 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!


Author Notes: There was a short-lived restaurant on Dune Rd. in Westhampton owned by the Argentinian chef, Frances Mallman, that made a great pan-roasted calamari salad. I can't remember now if the original had cherry tomatoes and avocados or that is something I morphed into it but it was delicious nonetheless. I know the picture is a skate but I couldn't find one of a squid....... - CannedCanned

Food52 Review: This is just about the easiest, quickest, most unique salad ever. The flavor of the crisp, well-browned calamari, along with its lemony marinade, and the barely warmed tomatoes and avocado are striking. This would be wonderful to serve for a dinner party because it truly does come together in a matter of minutes. A larger serving would make a lovely summer dinner over just-picked greens. I made it with my students today, most of whom had never tasted calamari. True confessions: Many were simply afraid of it. It was a great delight to us all and they were very surprised to find that they genuinely liked it. Several said they would prepare it at home; I know I will! - boulangereboulangere

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 for dinner

  • 1 pound cleaned calamari, mostly bodies
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 chile de arbol, pinched into little pieces
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, minced and divided
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 1 bunch arugula, cleaned
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Slice the cleaned squid bodies into rings about 1/2 inch thick. Clean the spiders and place prepared squid in a bowl with a lid.
  2. Add olive oil, 1/2 parsely, garlic, chile, lemon juice and zest to the squid and mix. Cover and refrigerate for at lease one hour or more.
  3. Preheat a cast iron pan over high heat until it is almost smoking. Dump cold squid mixture into frying pan and spread out. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, let it sit searing for a good two minutes. Stir a couple of times and let it sit for another two minutes. Stir again. By this time the calamari should be getting crusty. If not stir again and keep cooking. You want to pan-roast the calamari until it is browned but not burned.
  4. When calamari is about done, add the diced avocado, tomatoes and red onion to the skillet. Remove from heat. Place a handful of arugula on each plate and top with calamari. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon slices.
Jump to Comments (17)

Tags: can be made ahead, picnic, quick, serves a crowd, Summer

Comments (17) Questions (0)

Default-small
Default-small
Dscn2212

3 months ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I remember this vividly, as I was its fortunate tester. It still remains one of the best things I've ever eaten.

Img_2938

over 1 year ago Canned

No, there isn't any water in the recipe and the olive oil and lemon juice goes into the pan with teh calamari. I just thought perhaps the liquid came from frozen calamari since the 1/2 cup of olive oil for one lb. of calamari, the tomatoes and avocado isn't a lot of liquid to start with. Sorry for the confusion but I can't think what else it may have been.

Default-small

over 1 year ago Amy B

Now I'm confused because I don't recall water in recipe. Calamari had been frozen but was thawed. I can't imagine that 1/2 cup olive oil and juice of a lemon would be absorbed while sitting in refrigerator. So what I dumped in hot pan was calamari with all that liquid. Was I supposed to remove it from the liquid?

Img_2938

over 1 year ago Canned

I have never had a problem with liquid. Were you using frozen calamari that still had ice on it? The oil liquid readily seems to be absorbed and flavors the other ingredients. All I can think of is to try drying the calamari with a paper towel before putting it in the water. Sorry.

Default-small

over 1 year ago Amy B

Just made for lunch and we loved it. However, puzzled by the browning and pan roasting because there was too much liquid for either to happen without overcooking. Thoughts?

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I used this in a summertime cooking class with bright flavors and minimal fuss tonight. I substituted tilapia for the calamari, but the marinating and cooking methods and ingredients were identical. Everyone was astonished that the fish wasn't overdone, and at the tomato and avocado flavors. This is to a keeper. Thank you very much.

Img_2938

over 3 years ago Canned

Thanks! Tilapia is a great idea - over to the docks tomorrow to find some....or something similar.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Seriously, your recipe is genius. I continue to be amazed by how flexible it is, and by how both bright and deep its flavors. This afternoon I ran into two people who had been in the class last night, and they'd both gone out this morning and gotten ingredients to make this tonight.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Today was test day, and we absolutely loved it. The browned flavor of the calamari is heavenly. I especially liked the last touch of tossing the tomatoes and avocados (though I'll admit I had a moment's pause with the latter) into the pan at the last minutes to marry all the lovely juices and bring down their temperatures. Most of my students had never tasted calamari before today, and many confessed to being somewhat terrified of it. Our rule is: taste everything. So they did, and were amazed that they loved it. Thank you, this is just lovely.

Img_2938

over 3 years ago Canned

Thanks, I'm so glad you and your students enjoyed it!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I claimed it for the EP test. Can't wait.

Img_2938

over 3 years ago Canned

Wow! Thanks - if you have any questions, let me know....

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'm hoping I have your permission to use frozen calamari. I'm landlocked, and that's my best bet. Your flavors and textures are so wonderful I couldn't resist. If it needs to be fresh, say the word, and I'll give it back for someone else to try.

Img_2938

over 3 years ago Canned

No problem. I am so lucky where I am but not a mountain in sight....go for the frozen. Try to defrost in cold lightly salted water if you have the time - or else lukewarm - and dry well. Ignore me - I'm stating the obvious.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks for the advice. I'm planning to make this with my students on Monday, so we'll arrive at a group evaluation. They're very much looking forward to it.

Img_2938

over 3 years ago Canned

Thanks! I have a cople of small individual cast iron skillets that I use to make it and then serve - but you have to move fast to squish the arugula under the squid in the hot skillet.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wonderful ingredients and great description of your preparation. This looks fantastic, and I imagine is beautiful on the plate.