"My Love Affair with Squid" by Karey Butterworth

Grilled Squid with Garlic and Red Chiles
All Images (c) Karey Butterworth

One of my favorite squid memories was in a restaurant on Portobello Road near my old neighborhood in London. It was a tiny Galician restaurant packed with chain smoking Spaniards and cheeky Notting Hillbillies, drinking, eating and ogling the night away. Our table ordered the “Chipirones en su tinta”, squid cooked in its own ink. The sauce was black, sexy, garlicky and so delicious with red Spanish wine and warm crusty bread. Since then, I always try to order squid when it’s on a menu, and love discovering how other chefs play with this cool cephalopod. My friend LiLing (an excellent cook who hails from Indonesia) came over to Glow last week to play with me in the kitchen. As we cleaned the squid and chopped the vegetables, we discussed our own “squiddy experiences” and laughed at my unrelenting fascination with its anatomy. It was my childhood dream to be a marine biologist, and these happy experiences with gorgeous sustainable seafood come pretty close!

This is my favorite way to eat squid. Simple, fresh and just perfect for summer.

Grilled Squid with Red Chiles and Garlic:
  • 2T thai fish sauce (squid brand, of course!)
  • 1T water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ t sugar
  • ½ t finely sliced red chile, into rings
  • 1 t finely chopped green onion (white part only)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped

  • 10 oz prepared small squid
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Small pinch red chile flakes
  • 2T peanut oil

  • 1 romaine heart sliced into wide strips or iceberg lettuce is fine, too
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • Basil or Mint leaves
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • 8x cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • Cracked pepper and half a lime for garnish

Mix dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Cut along one side of each squid pouch and open it out flat. Score the inner side into a diamond pattern with the tip of a small, sharp knife then cut into 2 inch squares. Separate the tentacles and toss the squid pieces with lime juice, salt and pepper.

Heat the peanut oil in a cast iron pan or wok until very hot, almost smoking. Add the squid and stir for about 1-2 minutes until they are just starting to turn white. At the last second, add the chopped garlic and red chile flakes and stir for 15 more seconds. Don’t let garlic turn brown or it will taste bitter. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Toss together the lettuce, green onions, basil, and cilantro in the dressing and spread on a platter or individual plates. Place the squid pieces on top along with any leftover oil, then garnish with the cucumber slices, halved cherry tomatoes and lime. Spoon any remaining dressing over salad and season with cracked pepper.

More pics…

Breaking down squid.

Wondrous squid pens.

Karey Butterworth is the local business owner of GLOW Restaurant and Bar. She is an award winning chef who specializes in scrumptious coastal cuisine. Thank you for sharing this article and info with all of us, Karey!

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