In continuation of my pasta series, I decided to take a throwback to the first dish I made and presented during my culinary school days. The Squid and Fregola salad was the first dish on my three-course menu. It was my first experience with the tiny Sardinian pasta, made from rolled toasted semolina. Cooked in boiling salted water and tossed with oven-baked squid. Together with tomatoes, basil and olive oil resulted in the perfect spring(ish) salad.
Squids can seem intimidating to most people, especially with all those tentacles and their slippery skin. However, it’s actually quite easy to prepare.
How to clean and prepare the Squid
- Firmly hold the tail of the squid with one hand and the head with the other. Pull apart with a slightly twisted motion. The head should easily slide off together with the guts.
- Both the body of the squid and its head (tentacles) are edible. Use a knife to cut just above the eyes that are attached to the guts and discard that part.
- Now there is a little bony tissue at the base of the tentacle called the beak. Squeeze just above the base of the tentacle and the bony tissue should pop right off, then discard it.
- The is also bony cartilage inside the tail section. Insert your fingers into the squid, feel around for the cartilage, grab it, and pull it out.
- Finally, you can remove the skin, although this is optional because the skin is also edible. You can easily peel the skin off with just your fingers or use a small knife to scrape it off.
- Give the squid and its tentacles a rinse with cool water. Then pat dry and it’s ready to use for a delicious bowl of squid and fregola salad.
Squid and Fregola
- 1 cup fregola
- 250 g fresh squid (Cleaned and washed)
- 4 cups water (to cook the fregola)
- 3 cherry tomatoes
- ½ a large lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Place the cleaned squid including the head in baking dish, season with salt and pepper, drizzle over some olive oil and pell a large piece of lemon zest on top. Place in the oven at 200 degrees celsius and bake for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime. place a large pot with 4 cups of water and salt over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Pour in the fregola and cook for 8 minutes. Once cooked, drain the fregola and transfer them into a bowl.
- Chop and add the tomatoes to the bowl of fregola. Also, chop the body of the squid and toss it into the bowl Cut the head of the squid in halves or leave whole and add them to the bowl.
- Using your fingers roughly cut a few leaves of basil and add that to the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze in half of a lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve warm with your choice of salad dressing. (I used a simple basil vinaigrette.