If I had a pound for every time I’d heard somebody say, “I don’t like squid ‘cos it’s rubbery”, I’d be a rich man. It isn’t!! Especially if it’s cooked correctly, i.e. hot and fast.
This marinated squid makes the best tasting squid I can remember. Red chilli is a classic with squid but I think it’s the small amount of sugar in this recipe that makes all the difference. Do try to get fresh squid complete with their guts and purple outer skin – they really do taste far superior to the bland white, frozen variety.
Prepare the squid. Grasp each squid body firmly but gently in one hand, its head and tentacles in the other hand and gently pull them apart. Most of the guts should come out of the body and still be attached to the head. Cut the tentacles away from the head by cutting as close to the eyes as possible without bursting them. (Yukko!) Discard the head and guts. Leave the tentacles whole. Slice open each squid body lengthways and pick off any gut remnants. (Yukko again!) Cutting about half-way through the flesh, score a criss-cross pattern on the inside of each squid body, then cut each into three pieces.
Mix together the the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, chilli and sugar. Put the squid pieces in a glass bowl and stir in the marinade. Leave it to marinate for 30-45 minutes.
Heat a ridged griddle pan until it is very hot. Grill the squid pieces for 30 seconds on each side, scored side down first. It is important that the pan is extremely hot so that the squid cooks very quickly. If it cooks for too long (2 minutes) it can become “rubbery”. (Phone the fire brigade and tell them that the smoke is NOT a fire.)
Make the vinaigrette dressing. Crush the ½ garlic clove to a paste with a little salt. Stir it into the balsamic vineger and leave it to infuse for about 15 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and a few grindings of black pepper to make an emulsion.
Dress the salad leaves with the vinaigrette and serve with the grilled squid scattered over. Make sure the highly prized tentacles are fairly distributed. (Yummy!)