I’m cooking dinner as a birthday gift for a friend and I’m in the mood for this calamari salad as part of the antipasti.
The steamed calamari is sweet and tender bathed in the zesty olive oil and lemon dressing. The celery and onion add a crunchy textural note. The mellow roasted pepper strips and buttery Castelvetrano olives fill out the flavor palette.
You can make calamari salad in about 20 minutes. Just chill it in the fridge and you’re ready to eat.
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- The whole peel and juice of ½ lemon
- 1½ pounds calamari bodies and tentacles, cleaned and bodies cut into ½ inch rings
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ red onion, minced
- ½ cup pitted Castelvetrano or other green olives, cut in slivers
- 4 celery stalks with leaves, sliced thin (I like to use the tender, pale green inner stalks.)
- ½ cup roasted red bell peppers, cut in strips
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat parsley
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon dry oregano
- ¼ teaspoon hot chili flakes
- Put 2 inches of water in a Dutch oven or pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the bay leaves and lemon peel and boil for a few minutes until they release their aromas.
- Set a colander or steamer over but not touching the water.
- Add the calamari rings and tentacles into colander or steamer lower the heat so the water is simmering. Cover the pot and cook until calamari is just cooked through and is opaque, about 5 to 6 minutes. (I taste the calamari to ensure that I take them out when they are cooked but tender. Don’t over cook the calamari or it will toughen.)
- In the meantime in a large bowl combine the onion, olives, celery, roasted pepper, parsley, salt, oregano, peperoncino, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Add the cooked calamari to the bowl and mix well with the other ingredients and olive oil and lemon dressing.
- Chill the calamari salad before serving.