This vibrant and punchy salad makes for a great weeknight meal option due to how quick and easy it is to make… and it’s healthy to boot! The eggplants add a separate cooking method – they’re a fun addition but totally optional if you don’t want to go through the work to add them, just skip steps #1 and #2. Make sure you don’t cook the squid for longer than 2 minutes or it will become very rubbery and chewy. If you do happen to overcook it, push dinner off and simmer the squid for another 40 minutes. This will make it soft and tender again. Purchase the squid frozen and cleaned so you don’t have to do the extra work. If you don’t enjoy the thought of tentacles, feel free to buy a bag of frozen squid rings instead.
- 1 Asian-style long eggplant/aubergine
- 3 tbs olive oil (divided in recipe)
- 100 g sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed
- 1 zucchini/courgette, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into half moons
- 1 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 454 g baby squids, thawed and cleaned
- 2 radishes, trimmed, quartered then sliced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2 green onions/scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper/capsicum, chopped
- 1 red chili pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 handful fennel fronds, chopped
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves (feel free to add other herbs like parsley, dill, cilantro, basil, etc.)
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 15 ml red wine vinegar
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C, gas mark 6).
- Cut eggplant into bite size irregular chunks by cutting a diagonal chunk, rolling it over by 1/4, cutting another diagonal chunk, rolling it 1/4, etc. Or you can just cut it into cubes. Dump the eggplant onto a baking sheet and drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss. Put in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping once half way through. Take out of the oven and set aside to let cool.
- While the eggplant is roasting, bring a large pot of water with a hefty pinch of salt to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice cold water (use ice cubes if you have to) and set it nearby.
- Add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to immediately transfer them over into the ice water. Repeat with the zucchini and fennel bulb.
- Now drop the squid in the boiling water and cook for about 1 and 1/2 minutes, no longer than 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the ice water.
- Drain the vegetables and squid into a colander. Pick out the squid tubes and cut into bite sized rings. Cut off the tentacles if they are still attached and cut them in half if they are larger than bite sized.
- Add the squid and blanched veggies to a large salad bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients (making sure that the eggplant has cooled down and isn’t added while piping hot) except for the salt. Taste and add enough salt that the salad pops with flavour. It should be nice and tart, add more vinegar if it tastes a little bland.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!