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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Calamari Pasta Salad

This unusual creature makes tasty main dishes, appetizers and salads. I created this salad after I found myself with a lot of leftover squid following my annual squid dissection activity with my 5th/6th grade science classes. After cleaning the squid I cut off the tentacles and sliced the mantle into ribbons. A quick fry in hot oil, followed by draining on paper towels and my squid are ready for any number of uses.

Recipe for Calamari Pasta Salad

1-2-3 pounds whole squid, cleaned
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 fennel bulb and tops
1 # ziti pasta, cooked and drained
4 T Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of fresh garlic, smashed and chopped finely
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 T dry red chili pepper flakes
1 T dried oregano flakes
salt and pepper

In boiling water, cook 1 pound of ziti-style pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside. Using a mandoline, slice part of the fennel bulb into thin slices. Chopped fennel tops into large pieces for use as garnish. Chop red bell pepper and parsley and place in a bowel. Add cooled pasta.

Blanch fresh green beans until slightly crunchy, then cool in iced water. Drain and add to pasta mixture.

Clean the squid carefully, slice off the tentacles just ahead of the eyes. Make sure to remove the beak parts found in the center of the tentacles. Slice the mantle or body of the squid into 1 to 2 inch slices. In a pan of hot oil drop batches of the squid. Allow to fry about 45 seconds to one minute. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.

When cooled, add cooked squid to the pasta vegetable mixture.

In a small bowel mix 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup red wine vinegar. Add oregano, pepper flakes, garlic and salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended. Pour over squid mixture and toss thoroughly. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and then mix again before plating up.

Place a heaping serving of the salad on plate and garnish with fennel top pieces.

Serves 6-8