Barbecued calamari chuleta with pea & jicama salad

Barbecued calamari chuleta with pea & jicama salad

Chris Middleton

‘Chuleta’ means ‘to chop’ and you see many tacos featuring chopped ingredients because they make the perfect taco bites. Cooking and chopping smoky barbecued calamari is great theatre and the flavours are so delicious – the seafood pieces make a great textural contrast to the refreshing jicama, pea and mint salad.


Quantity Ingredient
400g calamari, cleaned
1 bunch oregano leaves, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
2 green chillies, very finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
100ml olive oil
8-12 Tortilla dough, homemade masa tortillas
or 8-12 store-bought tortillas
100ml Tomatillo verde, Optional

Pea &jicama salad

Quantity Ingredient
2 jicama, very finely diced, (see Latin Larder)
300g fresh peas
1 bulb spring onion, finely shaved on a mandoline
1 jalapeno, finely sliced
1 bunch mint leaves
50ml Zesty lime dressing


  1. Ideally a wood-fired or charcoal barbecue will impart greater flavour when cooking your squid. If you have one, preheat a barbecue with a hood until the coals have a thin coating of grey ash. Add presoaked aromatic wood such as ironbark or hickory. Alternatively, if using a gas barbecue soak smaller wood chips and place them in a smoking box on your barbecue.
  2. To prepare the squid, place a sharp knife in each tube and cut through the side to open it out, then lightly score in a criss-cross fashion. Cut the tentacles into bite-sized pieces. Place the calamari pieces in a bowl with the oregano, garlic, chilli, lemon juice and olive oil and mix together well. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the calamari from the bowl, shaking off any excess marinade, and add to the grill. Leave to sear for 1 minute, then turn and cook for a further minute.
  4. Transfer the squid pieces to a chopping board to rest while you put the tortillas on the grill also, briefly grilling them to heat them through.
  5. For the salad, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss in the dressing.
  6. To serve, chop the squid tubes into bite-sized pieces, then add the squid to the salad and mix well. Divide the tortillas among serving plates, top with a few spoonfuls of the tomatillo verde, if using, and spoon over the calamari mixture.

* Tips

  • If jicama is proving hard to source, use cucumber or fennel instead. In place of the calamari, try using skinless salmon fillets prepared in the same way for something equally satisfying, or thick slices of grilled zucchini for a veggie option.
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