Insalata di calamari (Squid salad)

Calamari salad

This is an awfully fancy bowl on a fancy place mat for such a simple salad. My sister is the photographer in the family, so you’ll have to forgive me for the food styling!

As I wrote awhile back in this post, Southern Italy is home to cold seafood salads. This recipe was also published in the L’Italo-Americano newspaper.

These salads vary by region, and depend on what seafood is available, but in Calabria they tend to be simple–in fact, super simple–using just octopus, squid or cuttlefish.

This recipe is made with just squid as the seafood, with cooked white beans adding some heft. I would have liked to have made this with octopus, but Whole Foods has decided that octopus are offended by being caught and I wasn’t going to drive all the way to Santa Monica to get a very overpriced octopus at Santa Monica Seafood. I really have to find a store in Koreatown to get raw octopus. Anyway. . .here’s all it takes to make this tasty salad. I recommend making this salad a day in advance to let it marinate.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 2 or 3 lemons
  • 1 bunch of parsley – separated into stems and leaves
  • 1 pound cleaned squid (calamari), equal parts bodies and tentacles (if frozen, defrost in advance of using)
  • 1 or 2 cups cooked white beans (drained and rinsed canned beans work great for this recipe)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Prepare the squid by separating the bodies from tentacles. Cut the body into rings. Rinse the rings and tentacles in cold water checking for any missed internal bits. Drain well.
  2. Prepare a pot of water by adding one sliced lemon and the stems of the parsley bunch. Bring to boil and reduce to a high simmer.
  3. Let the water simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the lemons and parsley stems with a spider or tongs.
  4. Have a bowl standing by to hold the cooked squid. Return the water to boil. Add the prepared squid and cook for 3-4 minutes. No more! Remove the squid to the prepared bowl with spider. Now cool the squid down as fast as you can! Place the bowl in the fridge or freezer, or float the bowl in an ice bath.
  5. Once cool, add the beans. Season with squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. Chop some parsley leaves and add to the bowl, gently combining with a spoon.
  6. Refrigerate overnight and serve the alone or on a bed of lettuce greens.


Join the Conversation

  1. Joe, love your website! Photos, recipes, comments – all of it.
    For the Insalada di calamari, you said you would have liked to have used octopus.
    If we do use octopus, would it be cleaned and cooked the same way and same amount of time?
    Thank you!

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