I’ve just started to teach a cooking class for adults called ‘Mastering Seafood’ and this is one of the dishes I taught in the first class. It’s an easy dish but it lets you brush up on your technique of how to cut open a calamari (squid) tube, score it and fry it lightly on the stove top.
When you cook with calamari, you can buy a ‘tube’ that has already been cleaned or you can ‘go for broke’ and clean one yourself, slicing off the head, removing the ‘beak’ and cleaning out the innards, etc. I showed the class how to do both techniques but I believe most people would prefer to buy an already-cleaned calamari.
This recipe oozes with flavours: the prawns and calamari are first marinated in a chili, garlic and ginger marinade; then lightly sautéed on the stovetop. They are then layered on top of salad greens that are mixed with some mint and basil; avocado slices and toasted sesame seeds and peanuts are also featured in this dish.
I also showed the class how to bake a whole Snapper and how to make Crab Bisque (see my previous post ‘Crab Bisque and my blog 1-year anniversary’ for the recipe). I’ll be featuring some more recipes from my ‘Mastering Seafood’ class, so please stay tuned!
(P.S. When I sat down to eat this dish for my dinner, the whole plate fell face down onto the floor- prawns, calamari and everything went ‘splat.’ I remembered something about a ‘5-second rule’ and scooped everything up. It was still delicious! I guess even culinary teachers make mistakes).
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- 2 calamari tubes, cleaned
- 12 raw prawns or shrimp
- ½ fresh red chilli- chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh peeled ginger, chopped
- 25 ml olive oil
- 25 ml vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
- 30ml lime juice
- 30ml rice wine vinegar
- 30ml fish sauce
- 30g palm sugar
- Salad Greens to serve 4
- Thai basil (or ‘regular’ basil)
- Mint leaves
- 1 spring onion, sliced lengthwise in 3 cm strips
- Bean shoots
- 1 avocado
- 20g toasted peanuts, diced finely
- 20g sesame seeds
- To make the marinade, finely chop the chilli, ginger and garlic, then lightly sauté the mixture in a little olive oil on the stovetop for about one minute. Transfer to a food processor bowl and purée with the olive and vegetable oils until smooth.
- Cut through one side of a calamari tube, open it out and score the inside of the flesh using a diagonal criss-cross pattern (spacing the cuts about 2 mm apart). Peel and de-vein the prawns, leaving tail on. Add the prawns and calamari to the marinade and let set for 10-15 minutes to marinate.
- Dry roast (at 180 C) the sesame seeds and peanuts until golden brown- about 5-6 minutes.
- To make the dressing, combine the palm sugar, vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce in a small saucepan. Over medium high heat, whisk the ingredients until the sugar dissolves, continue to whisk, then reduce the heat and let the mixture reduce until it thickens a little. Let cool.
- Pan-fry the prawns and calamari in a little oil and butter, turning to cook on both sides. Only cook for a few minutes to avoid over-cooking.
- To prepare the salad, cut spring onion into 3cm batons and slice lengthways; add to salad greens along with some mint, basil and coriander and toss with about 3-4 tbsp. of the salad dressing (careful not to add too much dressing).
- To plate, add a bed of the tossed greens on a plate, add a few bean shoots on top, then several avocado slices. Arrange some calamari slices and prawns on top, sprinkle with some of the toasted sesame seeds and peanuts, then add a few more greens on top.