Grilled Squid and Tomatoes in Tamarind
This is a lovely dish - sweet, charred
squid served in a tangy dressing made with tamarind, lime and nuoc mam. It
is best made with baby squid because they are tender and sweet.
Traditionally, the squid are steamed for this dish, but their flavor is
enhanced if they are cooked on a griddle, as here, or lightly charred over
a barbecue. Serve while the squid is still warm.
Tomatoes, skinned, halved and seeded
Fresh baby squid
Fresh basil, coriander (cilantro) and mint, stalks removed, leaves chopped
Lime, squeezed and juiced
Raw cane sugar
Shallots, halved and finely sliced
Serrano chilies, seeded and finely sliced
Put the dressing ingredients in a bowl and
stir until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
Heat a ridged griddle, wipe the pan with a
little oil, and griddle the tomatoes until lightly charred.
Transfer them to a board, chop roughly
into bite-size chunks, and place in a bowl.
Clean the griddle, then heat it up again
and wipe with a little more oil. Griddle the squid for 2-3 minutes each
side, pressing them down with a spatula, until nicely browned.
Transfer to the bowl with the tomatoes,
add the herbs and the dressing. Toss well.
Preparing the squid
To prepare the squid yourself, get a firm
hold of the head and pull it from the body. Reach down inside the body
sac and pull out the transparent back bone, as well as any stringy
parts. Rinse the body sac inside and out and pat dry. Cut the tentacles
off above the eyes and add to the pile of squid you're going to cook.
Discard everything else.