Squid typically appeals to more adventurous eaters in North America. Besides pub-style calamari, this preparation is a gateway dish: forgo the tentacles (first time around) if you think they look too intimidating in a salad. The roasted rice adds a nutty flavour and great texture—and a guessing game with your guests.
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Squid Salad with Roasted Rice
Substitutions: Scallops or shrimp for the squid. Try to get a Thai brand of fish sauce, it is not as strong-tasting.
- 1 medium hot pepper, thinly sliced into rings
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) rice wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) water
- 1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
- 1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed and core minced
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) sweet chili sauce
- In a small bowl add pepper slices to vinegar and let steep for about half an hour. Combine the rest of the dressing ingredients in another small bowl and set aside.
- 1 lb (250 g) Humboldt squid tubes, cleaned and sliced into rounds
- 3 Tbsp (45 mL) peanut oil
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot dried chili flakes
- Black pepper
Pat dry tubes. Cut along one side of the squid tubes and open them out flat. With the tip of a sharp paring knife, score the inner tubes in a diamond pattern, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces.
Heat the oil in a heavy pan over high heat. Add the squid and sauté, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with dried chili flakes, salt and black pepper. Cool at room temperature.
- 2 Tbsp (30 mL) long grain rice
In a heavy (preferably cast-iron) small pan, add the rice and stir until golden brown. Transfer to a spice grinder and pulse—don’t grind into a powder. Or transfer rice to a cutting board, cover with parchment paper and roll with a rolling pin until the rice is broken.
- 1 romaine heart, cut into 4 wedges
- 1 cup (250 mL) julienned daikon
- 1 long English cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into long strips
- 4 green onions, julienned
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) mint leaves, whole
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro leaves, whole
Remove and discard red pepper from vinegar and add vinegar to dressing. Divide lettuce wedges, daikon and cucumber amongst plates and sprinkle with green onion, mint and cilantro leaves. Add squid, along with remaining peanut oil in the pan. Drizzle dressing over squid and sprinkle with roasted rice.
Pairing suggestion: Tom Firth: Big Rock Brewery Grasshopper
Excerpted from The Ocean Wise Cookbook 2, by Jane Mundy. Reprinted with permission of Whitecap Books, 2016.