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Cellophane Noodle Salad with Fresh Calamari, Chilies, and Herbs

Bright and fresh cellophane noodle salad with calamari, chilies, and herbs: an easy recipe for a hot summer day | Tasting Everything
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It’s so amazing to be living in Napa. Phenomenal ingredients everywhere; the freshest seafood, gorgeous produce everywhere, including my backyard, wines, oils, cheeses…the list is endless! A quick meal, even something as simple as a cellophane noodle salad, can be unbelievably rewarding.

 

Summer here can be extremely hot, but after a lifetime in Minnesota with humidity so wet and heavy you can partially reach out and grab a handful of it, this dry heat just feels like vacation. The only trick is figuring out how to cool off your house! I’ve discovered recently that a block of ice and a fan go a long way

 

Hot days, though, call for fast and light food with a minimum of stove and oven time. The trick is to find ingredients that are already tasty and won’t take much, if any, labor to be amazing. Braises, roasts, and stews are no good. Quick and easy wins every time!

There is a really great spot to buy fish right in my neighborhood, and I was in the mood for squid, so I ran out a grabbed just a pound. I was thinking some hot and spicy calamari with black rice would be a great dinner. The day, however, turned out to be a hot one. Over 100 degrees and sunny, and once my house gets hot, it likes to stay hot for as long as it can. So, it turned out to be the perfect afternoon for a chilled bright and acidic cellophane noodle salad. I had some radishes, mint, basil, cilantro, and chilies growing in my garden, and the lonely scallion bunch in my fridge was starting to look a little long in the tooth, so my recipe was set!

There is a really great spot to buy fish right in my neighborhood, and I was in the mood for squid, so I ran out a grabbed just a pound. I was thinking some hot and spicy calamari with black rice would be a great dinner. The day, however, turned out to be a hot one. Over 100 degrees and sunny, and once my house gets hot, it likes to stay hot for as long as it can. So, it turned out to be the perfect afternoon for a chilled bright and acidic salad. I had some radishes, mint, basil, cilantro, and chilies growing in my garden, and the lonely scallion bunch in my fridge was starting to look a little long in the tooth, so my recipe was set!

Lunch would be simple; a cellophane noodle salad with tons and tons of flavor.

(Looking for cellophane noodles? You can always find them on Amazon! They have tons of choices, but I’m always happy with these…)

 

Calamari Salad GF

 

Fresh and Bright Cellophane Noodle Salad with Fresh Calamari

Squid and Cellophane Noodle Salad

Ingredients

    For the Dressing
  • 1/4 c lime juice
  • salt (to taste only. The fish sauce will almost certainly be enough salt.)
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • Small pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs rice vinegar
  • For the Salad
  • 1 # Calamari, cleaned and cut into small rings, tentacles reserved
  • 1 Tbs Tamari (or regular soy sauce if avoiding gluten isn't a priority)
  • 1 Package cellophane noodles
  • 1 Tbs neutral oil (like vegetable)
  • 1/2 c peanuts
  • 2 Tbs sesame seeds (I used black, but toasted white, or a combination of black and white would be great.)
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the bias, kept in ice water
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced and julienned (keep in ice water)
  • 1 thai chili (or any kind of chili you like), seeds and membranes removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, picked
  • 3 sprigs thai basil, picked (regular basil is an ok substitution)
  • 1 sprig mint, picked

Instructions

    For the Dressing
  • Combine all ingredients, mix well, add seasoning to taste.
  • For the Salad
    For noodles
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Turn off heat, add noodles, stir well.
  • Always check the package instructions for your noodles; some brands are pretty specific and really do work better the way the packaging specifies.
  • After 5 minutes, when noodles are tender, drain and rinse the noodles very well in cold water.
  • Put them in a bowl and toss with oil. Getting the noodles really well rinsed and then coated in a little oil will prevent them from sticking together.
  • For squid
  • When they are clean and sliced into rings, put the rings and tentacles on a paper towel to get them as dry as you can.
  • Get a sauté pan hot, add oil, and when the oil is nearly smoking, add the calamari.
  • Make sure your pan is OFF the heat when you add the calamari, and be aware that the squid will cause the oil to spit at you. Be careful!!
  • Return the pan to the burner, toss the calamari with a pinch of salt and then add the soy sauce to the hot pan (be careful again!).
  • As soon as all of the pieces are hot all the way through, the squid is done. Overcooking it will cause it to feel like chewy rubber bands!
  • Remove from heat and drain any excess liquid or oil.
  • Add dressing to noodles and toss well.
  • Add radishes, 1/2 of the cilantro, mint, basil, and peanuts and toss gently.
  • Taste for seasoning - you might want a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lime juice!
  • Plate the noodles and garnish with the calamari, scallions, sesame seeds, chilies, and the rest of the cilantro, mint, basil, and peanuts.

 

How to make a bright and fresh cellophane noodle salad with calamari, chilies, and herbs: an easy recipe for a hot summer day | Tasting Everything

 

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