A calamari salad is a salad that features calamari, better known as squid, as its main ingredient. Depending on the preparation of both the calamari as well as the other ingredients, a calamari salad can be a relatively light starter or side, or it may be something that can be consumed as a full meal. In some cases, a calamari salad may consist primarily of pickled calamari, while in other cases the calamari may be added to a green salad as a topping. When squid is added to a salad, it may be breaded and deep fried, sauteed, or grilled. The calories and overall nutritional profile of these salads depend considerably on both the method of cooking the squid as well as the other ingredients.
One common type of calamari salad, often found behind deli counters, is a salad made of chopped calamari and vegetables that have been marinated in a oil and vinegar dressing. Depending on the recipe, the salad may have a sweet and tart flavor. In some variations, the calamari is blended with other types of seafood. These salads are often found in markets that carry a significant amount of Mediterranean groceries. The various other vegetables and seasonings used in a marinated calamari salad may vary according to the ethnicity of the recipe used to prepare it.
In many restaurants, fried calamari is a popular appetizer or hors d'oeuvre. Those restaurants that also offer green salads on their menus may add fried calamari to greens and sell it as a dinner salad. One typical version of this type of calamari salad is the calamari Caesar salad. In this salad, a base salad of romaine lettuce is typically tossed with a Caesar dressing and shaved cheese and then topped with fried calamari. It is not uncommon for restaurants to offer diners a choice of the various types of meat or seafood to top a Caesar salad, and calamari is often one of the options, along with chicken, salmon, or steak. Restaurants may also offer other types of salad using various salad dressings that include calamari as an ingredient.
Some people have allergies to calamari, making it important to prepare calamari salad using utensils and equipment that are not shared with other foods. Another thing to be aware of is that there are various types of imitation calamari on the market, which can be made from whitefish or other ingredients. If someone is concerned about obtaining a quality calamari salad, he should patronize a trusted grocery or food service establishment and ask about the source of its calamari.