One of my favourite summer salads is a fresh and fabulous Grilled Shrimp, and Calamari Salad combined with grilled zucchini, fresh sliced avocado, hot house or home grown tomatoes, heirloom carrots and hard boiled eggs. Tossed with a tangy marinade, the seafood can be cleaned and prepped well in advance and pulled together at the last minute. As with any summer salad, improvisation is key, adding whatever ingredients are readily available. The idea is to compose a fresh and flavourful hastle-free salad with a treasure trove of grilled seafood and a riot of your favourite seasonal veggies nestled on top, for an easy evening meal on a lazy summer night.
Grilled Shrimp & Calamari Salad with Avocado
8 large Florida shrimp
3 whole squid with heads, cleaned
1 yellow zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
3 baby heirloom carrots, yellow, purple and orange, finely sliced
1 head red oak leaf lettuce, cleaned, washed and torn into bite size pieces
2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 scallion, finely chopped for garnish
3 hot house tomatoes, quartered
2 eggs, hard boiled and halved
1 tbsp pure sesame oil, divided
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and fresh ground black or white pepper
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact: Gently run a small knife down the centre of the backs to butterfly the shrimp, and remove the intestinal tract. Drizzle with oat with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper then set aside allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
Place the squid on a cutting board and slice each tube in half lengthwise. Lay each of the pieces of squid flat. Score the squid with diagonal slices, cutting through half the thickness, scoring first one way, then the other to create diamond-shaped cuts. Then trim the heads, removing and discarding the beak of the squid. Drizzle with oat with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper then set aside allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
Brush the zucchini with a little olive oil and set aside.
For the salad dressing, place the garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times until minced. Add the other ingredients and pulse until emulsified. Cover and set aside.
To grill the seafood, place the shrimp, squid and zucchini on a preheated BBQ and cook until the seafood is opaque and nicely grill marked, and the zucchini is cooked through. The squid and heads should curl up nicely. Once cooked, slice the squid into bite size pieces.
To prepare the salad, place the lettuce, cucumber, carrots and salad dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. To serve, place the dressed salad on a large platter, then on top, decoratively arrange the hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocado then top with the grilled zucchini and seafood. Garnish with the chopped scallions and dig in.