Calamari, kale and Kalamata. Clearly, I’m a sucker for alliteration in recipe titles.
For years, I didn’t actually realize that “calamari” on the menu referred to the squid beneath the batter in the ubiquitous fried calamari dishes I loved so much. I thought “calamari” was the name of the dish itself. Which, in a way, isn’t so surprising when you consider how rarely you tend to see UN-fried calamari. As an adult, I finally found out that calamari is actually the Italian name for squid. Whoops. Now while I’m not planning on giving up my Calamari Fritti any time soon – even if I have to paleofy them myself! – when I started seeing real, whole squid tentacles at the market, I was thoroughly intrigued. What else could I do with them other than fry them? As always, the best answer was: keep it simple, fresh, and only-just-cooked so that there is no chance of turning the delicate seafood into the rings of rubber that you sometimes stumble upon.
The result of this was a light, yet tangy & flavorful calamari kale salad. One of the things I love about naked calamari is that it seems to retain the slightly briny taste of raw seafood after being cooked. It’s like raw seafood without the sometimes questionable texture. Don’t worry too much about the raw shallot; it mellows out nicely while it marinates in the olive oil and lemon juice that you make the salad with.
Make sure you use a really fantastic quality extra virgin olive oil to dress this salad – it makes all the difference!
- 1lb of cleaned calamari, sliced into inch long pieces
- 8 packed cups of baby kale, chopped roughly
- 1 shallot, sliced finely
- ⅓ cup Kalamata olives, sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon, divided
- Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup and 2 tbl extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Marinate the calamari: in a bowl, toss the sliced calamari in 2 tbl olive oil and half the lemon juice. Set aside.
- Make the salad: in a large salad bowl toss the baby kale, shallot, Kalamata olives, fresh cilantro and ¼ cup olive oil. Use your hands to work the oil & lemon juice into the kale. Set aside.
- Heat a skillet to medium high. When hot, tip the calamari, along with the olive oil & lemon juice marinade, into the pan. It should sizzle. Cook for approximately 4 - 5 minutes, until the calamari is slightly curled at the edges and is beginning to take on a little color. The marinade should have thickened to the point that it is now coating the calamari.
- Top the kale salad with the calamari and serve; this looks fantastic set out on a platter for guests to help themselves.
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