Chilled Squid Salad with Pickled Chili, Mint and Toasted Sesame


Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Jeremy Sewall

Tender poached squid tossed with pickled chilies and a coconut-lime dressing is a refreshing starter in warm weather. Serve over sticky rice or vermicelli noodles for a main course; add chopped roasted peanuts and fried shallots if you like, and serve with plenty of cold beer.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

10 cleaned squid tubes with tentacles
3 cups vegetable stock
½ lemon
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 cup rice wine vinegar
¾ cup sugar
2 Fresno peppers, sliced into thin rounds, seeds removed
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced into thin rounds, seeds removed
¼ cup lime juice
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons pickling liquid
¼ cup red onion, shaved very thin
1 cup sliced cucumbers
1 cup Sugar Snap peas, ends removed and cut into thin slices
¼ cup small mint leaves
8 large Bibb lettuce leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Bring the vegetable stock, lemon, thyme and salt to a boil. Drop in squid tubes and return to a simmer. Add tentacles, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes and remove lid, until cool enough to handle. Drain and transfer squid tubes to a cutting board and cut each one open so it lies flat. Slice into thin strips, place in a bowl with tentacles and chill in the fridge until ready to make the salad.

For the pickled chilies, bring the rice wine vinegar and sugar to a boil, stirring to fully dissolve the sugar. Place the sliced chilies in a small bowl or a jar and pour the hot pickling liquid on top. Let cool to room temperature, then chill until ready to use.

To make the dressing, stir together the lime juice, coconut milk, ginger, sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of the pickling liquid. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, toss the squid with the shaved onion, cucumbers, snap peas and mint leaves. Pour the dressing over and let sit for about 10 minutes for the flavors to develop. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter and pile the salad on top. Garnish with the pickled chilies and toasted sesame seeds.

This recipe appeared in the Spring 2019 issue as part of a larger story on squid.