Squid Salad
Insalata di Calamari

serves: Serves 6

Seafood salad is common in Italian American households especially on Christmas Eve, La Vigilia, and almost always an appetizer on menus of Italian American restaurants. As much as the seafood salad is popular in the States, in Italy one is more likely to find a simple salad like this calamari salad containing one kind of fish. The most important part of this recipe is not to overcook the calamari.

3 fresh bay leaves
The whole peel and juice of 1 lemon
1½ pounds calamari bodies and tentacles, cleaned and bodies cut into 1/2 inch rings
1 cup pitted green olives, cut in slivers
4 inner stalks of celery, with leaves, sliced thin on the bias
1 cup roasted red bell peppers , cut in strips
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon dry oregano
¼ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste


In a large Dutch oven or pot, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add bay leaves and lemon peel, and continue to boil for a few minutes, until they release their aromas.

Set a colander or steamer over (but not touching) the water. Add calamari rings and tentacles into colander or steamer, adjust heat so water is simmering and cover. Cook until calamari is just cooked through and has gone from opaque to white, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olives, celery, roasted pepper, salt, oregano, peperoncino and lemon juice. When the calamari is done, add to the bowl, drizzle with the oil and toss. Add the chopped parsley, toss again and serve warm or at room temperature.