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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 12, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Chef Tom Douglas serves up a tasty charred squid recipe


As we enter the height of the squid jigging action around the local piers at night from now through the deep winter in Puget Sound, many will be looking for ways to prepare these tasty denizens of the deep aside from just deep frying them with a slather of tartar sauce:

Some of the Emerald City’s most renowned restaurants are owned and operated by Seattle chef Tom Douglas. Here Douglas offers one delicious way to prepare your jigged squids.

Charred squid skewers on garlic toast with arugula

(Makes six servings)

Squid is often deep-fried, so it’s fun to grill it for a change. For tender, charred squid, cook the skewers quickly over a direct fire, with the coals as close as possible to the grate. A small hibachi that you can carry down to the beach will work very well. The spiced and charred squid skewers are served over a little bed of lemony arugula, with garlic toast underneath to catch all the vinaigrette and juices. Grill the toasts before you grill the squid and set them aside in a warm place.

Charmoula is a slightly spicy Moroccan sauce made with cilantro and garlic. Also try this marinade on grilled shrimp, scallop skewers, or chicken breasts.


2 pounds cleaned squid bodies, with or without tentacles

12 or more 10-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained

Charmoula marinade

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons sambal oelek or substitute 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 slices garlic toast, grill method

5 cups loosely packed arugula leaves, stems trimmed, washed and dried

Lemon vinaigrette

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons minced shallots

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. If your squid bodies have fins (thin flaps) attached to them, slice off and discard them. Put the blade of your knife inside a squid body and carefully slice it open, cutting away from you, so you have one flat piece. Cut this piece in half, lengthwise. You will have two squid pieces, shaped like two long, tapered rectangles. Using your knife, lightly score the inside of each rectangle in a crosshatch pattern, not cutting all the way through. Repeat this procedure with all the squid bodies. To skewer the squid, thread one rectangle, lengthwise, onto a bamboo skewer, followed by 2 tentacles (if using), then another rectangle. Pick up another skewer and continue until all the squid bodies are used. (You may have some tentacles left over; you can thread them together on a skewer.) Place the skewers in a nonreactive pan.

2. To make the marinade, combine the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, sambal, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk in the oil. Pour the marinade over the squid, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. To make the lemon vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice and shallots in a small bowl and whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Fire up your grill. Remove the skewers from the refrigerator and allow the squid to come to room temperature. Shake off excess marinade, then grill the skewers over a hot fire, direct heat, with the lid off. Turn the skewers several times as needed, until the squid is cooked through, opaque, and charred in a few places, about 1 to 3 minutes total time, depending on the heat of your fire. Do not overcook, or the squid will be tough. Remove the skewers from the grill.

On the plate

Put the arugula in a bowl and toss it with about 2 tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette.

Arrange the garlic toast on a platter. Top each piece of toast with some arugula salad. Put two squid skewers on top of each piece of toast and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the skewers. Garnish with the lemon wedges.

A step ahead

You can cut the squid and assemble the skewers up to a day ahead, and store, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. You can also make the charmoula marinade and the lemon vinaigrette up to a day ahead and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Marinate the skewers 30 minutes before you plan to grill them.

(Photo by Greg Gilbert, Seattle Times staff photographer)



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