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Grilled Squid with Spicy Black Beans

Squid comes in many sizes, but the preferred type for this recipe is the diminutive chipirone, perhaps the smallest squid in the sea. Cooked quickly over very hot coals, they become meltingly tender. The versatile salsa can be made without the avocado, if you like, and is delicious with beef and other grilled meats like those that sizzle on a typical Argentinean asadero, or grill.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb. cleaned small squid, preferably extra-small chipirones

For the black beans:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 dry-cured chorizo sausage, about 5 inches long, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 tomato, peeled, seeded and diced  
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. seeded and minced habanero chili
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked black beans, drained, or canned beans, rinsed and drained

For the tomato-avocado salsa:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions, white and tender green portions
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano 
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced  
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced 

Directions:

Soak four 8-inch bamboo skewers in water to cover for 30 minutes.

In a baking dish, stir together the 2 Tbs. olive oil, the garlic, oregano, sea salt and pepper. Set aside. If the squid are larger than 1 1/2 inches long, make cuts on the bodies just to score the flesh; do not cut through the body. Drain the skewers. Thread the squid lengthwise onto the skewers, dividing them evenly. Place the assembled skewers in the baking dish and turn to coat with the olive-oil mixture. Let marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

To make the beans, in a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and chorizo and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and the chorizo is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, garlic, habanero, cumin, salt and pepper and cook until the tomato is tender and begins to break down, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is the consistency of a thick sauce, about 10 minutes more. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

To make the salsa, in a nonreactive bowl, whisk together the olive oil, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, oregano, salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Add the tomatoes and avocado and stir gently to coat with the dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Generously oil the grill rack and position it 2 to 4 inches above the coals.

Arrange the skewers on the grill rack directly over the hottest part of the fire and, working quickly, grill just until the squid turns opaque and is nicely grill marked, up to 2 minutes per side.

Spoon the beans onto a platter and arrange the squid on top. Serve immediately with the salsa. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Latin Cooking, by Patricia McCausland-Gallo, Deborah Schneider & Beverly Cox (Oxmoor House, 2010).