Grilled Squid & Fennel Salad
Whole squid is inexpensive and such a great source of quality protein. When buying squid, check that it is jig-caught (trawl-caught squid is not a sustainable choice). Sicilian Castelvetrano olives are really what make this salad—they are buttery, meaty, and incredibly delicious. When buying olives, if you can, choose ones that have their stones in as they are less likely to be mushy and have a better depth of flavour.
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2 whole squid
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of flaky sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, sliced paper-thin
1 lemon, finely grated zest of
pinch of chilli flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 small fennel bulbs
12 green olives, Sicilian Castelvetrano, crushed with the back of a knife to remove the stones, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley, or coriander
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into cheeks, to serve
BREAKING DOWN THE SQUID
If you’re using fresh whole squid, you will want to work over the sink as preparing it will get messy. Pull and twist the head and tentacles away from the tube to detach.
Set the head aside on a cutting board. Use your hands to scrape out any remaining innards from the tube, carefully removing the backbone.
Rinse inside and out thoroughly, then transfer to a bowl.
Use a sharp knife to cut behind the eyes of the squid, and discard everything but the tentacles.
Make sure you discard the beak and round hard socket at the base of the eyes too, as they are tough and unpleasant to eat.
Rinse tentacles thoroughly, cut in half lengthwise, and add to the bowl with the tube.
Add oil and salt to the bowl and toss to season. If using pre-cleaned squid or tubes, place in a bowl with oil and salt and toss to season.
Prepare your fire/barbecue/grill pan to medium-high heat.
Cook the squid until charred and the flesh has turned white, and meets no resistance when pierced with a sharp knife (5 minutes each side for whole tubes, 3 minutes each side for tentacles).
Remove from heat and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, thinly slice.
While the squid cools, make the salad.
Combine the oil, garlic, lemon zest, and chilli flakes in a small pot and gently heat for 1 minute until sizzling.
Remove from heat and add the sliced squid and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
While the squid is marinating, halve the fennel bulbs lengthwise and slice very thinly using a mandoline or sharp knife.
Place in a bowl of ice water (this helps prevent browning and keeps fennel crisp). Chill until needed.
Just before serving, drain the fennel slices thoroughly and toss through the salad with the sliced squid and its dressing, olives, and parsley.
Season to taste and serve with the squid and lemon cheeks for squeezing.